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Emma -:- Flipping -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 11:40:38 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Gift to Japanese Women -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 11:17:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Unwanted-Job Myth -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 11:11:17 (EDT)

Emma -:- An American's Paycheck in London -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 10:37:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Janus Funds: Everybody Loves a Loser -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 10:16:04 (EDT)

Emma -:- Valuing the Yuan -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 09:28:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- Relax? Not if You're FedEx -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 09:26:24 (EDT)

Emma -:- Is Your House Overvalued? -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 09:24:10 (EDT)
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Terri -:- REITs Again -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 10:32:37 (EDT)

Terri -:- Diversity and Protection of Portfolios -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 07:02:53 (EDT)

unlawflcombatnt -:- Outsourcing Reduces Global Wages -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 00:37:27 (EDT)

Terri -:- Preparing in a Bubble -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 18:32:45 (EDT)

Thomas -:- Tobin Tax -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 17:08:01 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: Tobin Tax -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 18:03:32 (EDT)
__ Thomas -:- Re: Tobin Tax -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 18:26:18 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Tobin Tax -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 18:50:28 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bubble and Deficit -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 16:19:14 (EDT)

Emma -:- Spread of AIDS in India -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 14:09:23 (EDT)

Terri -:- A Housing Bubble, Then What? -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 13:59:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- China and Water -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 11:52:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- Where's the Boeuf? -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 11:02:31 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Social Safety Net -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 10:59:17 (EDT)

Emma -:- U.S. Softens Its Warning to Beijing -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 10:46:01 (EDT)

Emma -:- Hedge Fund and Hedge Fund Salaries -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 10:35:38 (EDT)

Terri -:- Hedge Fund Returns -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 09:56:38 (EDT)

Terri -:- Utilities and Treasuries -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 09:54:03 (EDT)

Terri -:- European Integration -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 05:53:41 (EDT)
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Setanta -:- Re: European Integration -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 09:55:45 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: European Integration -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 11:00:42 (EDT)
_ Setanta -:- Re: European Integration -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 09:53:35 (EDT)

Terri -:- Flexible Markets -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 05:48:02 (EDT)

Terri -:- Request to Bobby -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 05:38:46 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: Request to Bobby -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 05:40:20 (EDT)

Terri -:- Hedge Fund Returns -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 05:31:32 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: Hedge Fund Returns -:- Fri, May 27, 2005 at 05:34:01 (EDT)

Terri -:- Utility Companies -:- Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 22:20:11 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bond Fund Protection -:- Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 22:02:45 (EDT)

Terri -:- Thoughts on Interest Rates -:- Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 17:12:41 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- ? -:- Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 14:56:16 (EDT)

Emma -:- 15 Years on the Bottom Rung -:- Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 11:50:45 (EDT)

Terri -:- Looking for Relative Value -:- Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 11:49:24 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Italy says ciao to la dolce vita... -:- Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 05:59:03 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: Italy says ciao to la dolce vita... -:- Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 05:57:45 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Italy says ciao to la dolce vita... -:- Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 07:13:57 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Bond Funds -:- Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 05:37:32 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Bonds and Bond Funds -:- Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 05:55:10 (EDT)

Terri -:- European Interest Rates are Too High -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 21:28:31 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Euro is high still -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 22:10:16 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Euro is high still -:- Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 05:54:15 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: Euro is high still -:- Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 08:58:45 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: Euro is high still -:- Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 10:21:16 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Euro is high still -:- Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 09:30:13 (EDT)

Terri -:- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 20:16:51 (EDT)
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Terri -:- High Yield Bonds -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 22:00:22 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- An alternate view -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 22:13:44 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: An alternate view -:- Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 07:18:55 (EDT)

Emma -:- Steep Rise in Prices for Homes -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 15:14:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- New Rule on Endangered Species -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 12:55:13 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Greg vs. Paul (Part II) -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 12:44:40 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: Greg vs. Paul (Part II) -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 15:34:00 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Additional thoughts -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 20:36:04 (EDT)
___ Paul G. Brown -:- Re: Additional thoughts -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 21:09:23 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Additional thoughts -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 21:37:33 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: Additional thoughts -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 21:34:36 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Don't cry for me, Mr. Greenspan -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 12:38:23 (EDT)

Emma -:- France and the European Constitution -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 11:32:56 (EDT)

Terri -:- Europe's Interest Rates -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 11:28:07 (EDT)
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Terri -:- America's Interest Rates -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 11:50:49 (EDT)

Emma -:- Growth and the Poor: Latin America -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 10:59:04 (EDT)

Emma -:- Utilities Utilities Utilities -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 10:51:17 (EDT)

Emma -:- German Leader Gambles in Election Call -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 10:45:42 (EDT)

Emma -:- China, New Land of Shoppers -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 10:39:09 (EDT)

Terri -:- Who are the Riskier Mortgage Holders -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 21:20:09 (EDT)

Terri -:- Long and Short Term Interest Rates -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 21:13:20 (EDT)
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Terri -:- The Euro has Weakened -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 22:03:02 (EDT)
__ Pancho Villa -:- Re: The Euro has Weakened -:- Wed, May 25, 2005 at 09:54:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- No Degree and No Way Back -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 19:31:33 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- 85% not 90% -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 15:18:53 (EDT)

Emma -:- Sugar Cane As Fuel: Brazil -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 14:00:48 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Long-Term Unemployed -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 12:34:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- Bolivia and Natural Resources -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 11:53:49 (EDT)

Emma -:- Panama Fights for Its Forests -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 11:50:06 (EDT)

Emma -:- Gidant and a Defibrillator Flaw -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 11:23:28 (EDT)

Emma -:- China's Risk of Inflation -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 11:21:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- Companies Recruiting New Graduates -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 11:19:34 (EDT)

Emma -:- The College Dropout Boom -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 10:10:36 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Barbarians at the gate -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 23:11:40 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: Barbarians at the gate -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 05:42:26 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- 'Lessons?' from the yen-dollar talks -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 22:27:03 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Time running out -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 22:57:26 (EDT)
__ David E.. -:- Isnt it too late? -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 23:33:44 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: Isnt it too late? -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 09:14:37 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- The latest -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 09:37:48 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Isnt it too late? -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 07:31:16 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- From where will change come? -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 21:32:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- Men Just Want Mommy -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 17:56:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- Climbing Bond Prices -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 15:02:57 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Birds of Delaware Bay -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 12:01:37 (EDT)

Terri -:- Paul Krugman in Bangkok -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 11:24:37 (EDT)

Emma -:- No Old-Age Security in Private Sector -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 11:17:44 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Reality to catch up with spin? -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 11:06:49 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: Reality to catch up with spin? -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 11:47:36 (EDT)

Emma -:- Marriage, Money and Class -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 11:02:55 (EDT)

Emma -:- Indigo Bunting -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 22:37:46 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: Indigo Bunting -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 10:00:48 (EDT)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 19:47:06 (EDT)

Emma -:- So You Want to Be a Venture Capitalist -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 18:56:41 (EDT)
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Setanta -:- Re: So You Want to Be a Venture Capitalist -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 07:38:43 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Where are the Birds? -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 12:02:32 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: So You Want to Be a Venture Capitalist -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 10:00:16 (EDT)

Emma -:- BMW and a High Design Assembly Line -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 18:49:08 (EDT)

Emma -:- Decoding Health Insurance -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 18:43:55 (EDT)

Emma -:- Coal Plants Could Be Much Cleaner -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 16:57:28 (EDT)

Emma -:- China, the World's Capital -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 16:21:38 (EDT)
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Setanta -:- Re: China, the World's Capital -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 11:01:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- On a Christian Mission to the Top -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 14:26:15 (EDT)

Terri -:- Dollar Up, Dollar Down -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 14:13:39 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: Dollar Up, Dollar Down -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 14:50:21 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Dollar Up, Dollar Down -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 17:13:21 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Dollar Up, Dollar Down -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 17:54:18 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Supply & demand -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 20:32:10 (EDT)

Paul G. Brown -:- Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general) -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 01:37:44 (EDT)
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Auros -:- Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general) -:- Tues, May 24, 2005 at 12:57:24 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general) -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 06:02:20 (EDT)
__ Paul G. Brown -:- Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general) -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 15:04:30 (EDT)
___ Paul G. Brown -:- Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general) -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 12:25:41 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general) -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 15:05:15 (EDT)
_____ Paul G. Brown -:- Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general) -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 16:16:03 (EDT)
______ Emma -:- Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general) -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 17:53:09 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general) -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 16:26:46 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general) -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 06:09:10 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general) -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 12:26:59 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- I wonder...... -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 13:47:06 (EDT)
_____ Ryan -:- Re: I wonder...... -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 02:53:36 (EDT)
______ Setanta -:- Re: I wonder...... -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 11:11:18 (EDT)
______ Pete Weis -:- Agree with you, Ryan -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 10:43:50 (EDT)
_______ Terri -:- Re: Agree with you, Ryan -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 11:48:52 (EDT)

Emma -:- S.U.V.'s are Us? -:- Sat, May 21, 2005 at 13:37:23 (EDT)
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Setanta -:- Re: S.U.V.'s are Us? -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 12:45:24 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- The idiot light business model -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 14:08:54 (EDT)
___ Pancho Villa -:- Re: The idiot light business model -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 22:37:31 (EDT)
____ Pancho Villa -:- Re: The idiot light business model -:- Mon, May 23, 2005 at 22:45:28 (EDT)
_ Pete Weis -:- US auto execs are...... -:- Sat, May 21, 2005 at 15:29:14 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: US auto execs are...... -:- Sat, May 21, 2005 at 16:25:55 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Trade Deficit and the Dollar -:- Sat, May 21, 2005 at 11:06:49 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: The Trade Deficit and the Dollar -:- Sat, May 21, 2005 at 11:52:33 (EDT)

Emma -:- Canada's Medical System -:- Sat, May 21, 2005 at 10:12:34 (EDT)

Emma -:- Zimbabwe -:- Sat, May 21, 2005 at 10:09:31 (EDT)

Emma -:- 'Against Depression' -:- Sat, May 21, 2005 at 10:08:31 (EDT)

Emma -:- Starbucks Aims to Alter China -:- Sat, May 21, 2005 at 09:36:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- Rising Interest Rates or Falling? -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 22:46:15 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: Rising Interest Rates or Falling? -:- Sat, May 21, 2005 at 01:53:13 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Rising Interest Rates or Falling? -:- Sat, May 21, 2005 at 06:51:50 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: Rising Interest Rates or Falling? -:- Sat, May 21, 2005 at 12:18:22 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: Rising Interest Rates or Falling? -:- Sat, May 21, 2005 at 16:56:23 (EDT)

Emma -:- Housing and Currency -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 22:09:02 (EDT)
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Emma -:- Housing or Real Estate -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 22:11:24 (EDT)

Emma -:- Alan Greenspan's Argument -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 18:31:52 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: Alan Greenspan's Argument -:- Sat, May 21, 2005 at 02:22:31 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Alan Greenspan's Argument -:- Sat, May 21, 2005 at 17:59:33 (EDT)

Auros -:- Fantastic article at Slate -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 18:00:10 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: Fantastic article at Slate -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 20:38:31 (EDT)
__ David E.. -:- It is clear- -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 22:11:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- Household Debt and Government Debt -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 13:45:37 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: Household Debt and Government Debt -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 16:16:05 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Should -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 13:46:55 (EDT)

Terri -:- Is Real Estate Too Expensive? -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 12:56:21 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: Is Real Estate Too Expensive? -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 14:26:05 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Is Real Estate Too Expensive? -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 18:22:42 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Japan vs US -:- Sat, May 21, 2005 at 01:42:41 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: Japan vs US -:- Sat, May 21, 2005 at 17:58:02 (EDT)
_____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Japan vs US -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 12:52:55 (EDT)
______ Terri -:- Re: Japan vs US -:- Sun, May 22, 2005 at 19:49:48 (EDT)

Emma -:- At Sunbeam, Big Guys Won, Public Lost -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 12:51:23 (EDT)

Emma -:- Morgan Stanley's Comeuppance -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 10:56:38 (EDT)

Emma -:- Saving Energy, Without a Suit -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 10:49:43 (EDT)

Emma -:- Europe: The Unlevel Playing Field -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 10:21:22 (EDT)

Terri -:- How Can We Value REITs -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 05:55:33 (EDT)

Terri -:- The REIT Stock Index -:- Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 20:54:18 (EDT)
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Terri -:- What is a Healthy Real Estate Market? -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 05:52:47 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Depends on one's....... -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 11:05:57 (EDT)

Terri -:- Real Estate Speculation -:- Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 19:42:50 (EDT)

Pancho Villa alias 'Madness' -:- 'Our House' -:- Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 18:14:50 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Winners vs losers -:- Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 22:50:39 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Winners vs losers -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 05:34:03 (EDT)

unlawflcombatnt -:- CAFTA, Slave Labor, & Outsourcing -:- Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 18:08:58 (EDT)
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Ryan -:- Re: CAFTA, Slave Labor, & Outsourcing -:- Fri, May 20, 2005 at 12:12:56 (EDT)
__ unlawflcombatnt -:- Re: CAFTA, Slave Labor, & Outsourcing -:- Sat, May 28, 2005 at 00:35:05 (EDT)

Terri -:- China Has to Raise the Value of the Yuan -:- Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 17:14:25 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Paul Krugman in the Asia Times -:- Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 15:18:29 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: Paul Krugman in the Asia Times -:- Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 17:16:55 (EDT)
__ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Paul Krugman in the Asia Times -:- Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 18:52:23 (EDT)

Emma -:- China Rejects Calls for Currency Changes -:- Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 12:15:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- Up From the Holler: Two Worlds -:- Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 10:58:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- Hong Kong Acts on Currency -:- Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 10:24:57 (EDT)

Emma -:- China's Growth Ebbs -:- Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 10:03:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- When Richer Weds Poorer -:- Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 09:53:40 (EDT)

Terri -:- Stocks and Bonds -:- Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 07:18:00 (EDT)

Terri -:- Alan Greenspan -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 18:57:52 (EDT)

Terri -:- Thinking About Long Term Treasuries -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 18:23:33 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Returns -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 18:07:25 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 19:27:27 (EDT)

Terri -:- America and China -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 15:09:11 (EDT)

Emma -:- Refining Oil -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 12:55:41 (EDT)

Terri -:- Low Interest Cushion the Economy -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 12:26:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- Condo Fever and Apartments -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 10:38:12 (EDT)

Emma -:- Beijing Brushes Off U.S. Warning -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 10:33:45 (EDT)

Terri -:- Notice the Bond Market -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 10:05:16 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bond Market Adjustment -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 07:21:18 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Impending heavyweight showdown -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 22:42:11 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: Impending heavyweight showdown -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 05:48:19 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Common sense vs ego -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 09:07:39 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Common sense vs ego -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 09:56:20 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Hope you are right Terri -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 14:48:18 (EDT)
_____ Terri -:- Re: Hope you are right Terri -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 15:13:31 (EDT)

Emma -:- Dispute Tears at Mumbai: India -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 16:10:07 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bond Positions are Stabilizing -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 12:34:50 (EDT)

Terri -:- Credit Risk Interest Rate Spreads -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 11:56:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Social Security in France? -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 10:42:29 (EDT)

Terri -:- Jewel to Jewel -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 10:30:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Forest's Colorful Jewels in Danger -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 10:17:30 (EDT)

Terri -:- Gmail -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 09:39:42 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: Gmail -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 10:39:06 (EDT)

Terri -:- For All of Us a Gift -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 05:56:59 (EDT)
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Pete Weis -:- Re: For All of Us a Gift -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 08:53:44 (EDT)

David E.. -:- Drastic change to this site? -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 03:51:26 (EDT)
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Terri -:- All Will Be Well -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 06:00:15 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: All Will Be Well -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 07:23:20 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: Drastic change to this site? -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 05:51:27 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- All Will Be Well -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 07:12:04 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Over time.... -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 08:47:21 (EDT)
____ David E.. -:- Immediate effect -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 12:55:55 (EDT)
_____ Terri -:- Re: Immediate effect -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 13:59:44 (EDT)
______ Terri -:- Re: Immediate effect -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 14:19:17 (EDT)
_______ Terri -:- Re: Immediate effect -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 17:42:57 (EDT)
________ David E.. -:- Re: Immediate effect -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 00:21:42 (EDT)
_________ Terri -:- Re: Immediate effect -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 21:37:58 (EDT)
_________ Terri -:- Re: Immediate effect -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 05:56:39 (EDT)
__________ Terri -:- Re: Immediate effect -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 05:59:35 (EDT)
_________ Ryan -:- Re: Immediate effect -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 03:51:45 (EDT)
__________ Terri -:- Re: Immediate effect -:- Wed, May 18, 2005 at 18:24:29 (EDT)

Terri -:- Interest Rates and Bond Fund Returns -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 11:48:19 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Should we set a time table to... -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 11:37:02 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Should we set a time table to... -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 18:14:29 (EDT)
__ Paul G. Brown -:- Re: Should we set a time table to... -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 21:16:11 (EDT)
_ Paul G. Brown -:- Re: Should we set a time table to... -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 17:10:57 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Oops! -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 18:17:05 (EDT)
___ Paul G. Brown -:- Re: Oops! -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 21:18:41 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: Oops! -:- Tues, May 17, 2005 at 05:54:24 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Beneath the surface -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 10:33:55 (EDT)
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Terri -:- Re: Beneath the surface -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 11:22:02 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Beneath the surface -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 12:58:24 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Beneath the surface -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 14:56:55 (EDT)

Emma -:- Life at the Top in America: Healthier -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 09:47:42 (EDT)

Terri -:- Social Security -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 06:16:17 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Dollar -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 06:05:13 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: The Dollar -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 10:05:43 (EDT)

Terri -:- Hedge Fund Returns -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 06:00:10 (EDT)

Terri -:- Portfolio Balance Over time -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 05:45:28 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Portfolio Balance Over time -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 10:15:40 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Portfolio Balance Over time -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 11:51:21 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Value? -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 10:55:48 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Value? -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 11:28:29 (EDT)

Terri -:- Comparing Stock and Bond -:- Mon, May 16, 2005 at 05:43:56 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Evolution of Reluctant Capitalists -:- Sun, May 15, 2005 at 21:37:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- Class in America -:- Sun, May 15, 2005 at 11:48:49 (EDT)

Emma -:- Sugar Sugar -:- Sun, May 15, 2005 at 09:13:31 (EDT)

Emma -:- Troubles at Mexico's Oil Monopoly -:- Sun, May 15, 2005 at 09:02:07 (EDT)

Emma -:- Who's Preying on Your Grandparents? -:- Sun, May 15, 2005 at 08:32:51 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- A Most Important Article -:- Sun, May 15, 2005 at 09:05:12 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: A Most Important Article -:- Sun, May 15, 2005 at 11:20:09 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: A Most Important Article -:- Sun, May 15, 2005 at 15:02:19 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: A Most Important Article -:- Sun, May 15, 2005 at 13:10:58 (EDT)

Terri -:- Saving Culture -:- Sun, May 15, 2005 at 06:26:47 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Saving Culture -:- Sun, May 15, 2005 at 08:42:27 (EDT)

Terri -:- Growth and Debt -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 22:12:25 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Growth and Debt -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 22:17:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- Cellphone Taxes -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 19:00:22 (EDT)

Terri -:- Soft or Hard Landing -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 18:57:30 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- housing market is key -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 21:59:48 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: housing market is key -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 22:15:25 (EDT)

Terri -:- Why Should Interest Rates Be Higher? -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 16:53:45 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Why Should Interest Rates Be Higher? -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 17:00:26 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- As the tide rolls out -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 16:33:42 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: As the tide rolls out -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 16:46:06 (EDT)

Emma -:- Therapies Cut Risk in Breast-Cancer -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 15:12:27 (EDT)

Terri -:- Health Care Stocks -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 11:42:24 (EDT)

Emma -:- Biotech Drugs Are Producing Gains -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 11:28:56 (EDT)

Emma -:- 'Ford Has a Better Idea' ??? -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 11:04:17 (EDT)

Emma -:- Late Mutual Fund Trading -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 11:02:17 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Late Mutual Fund Trading -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 19:10:14 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Please Read -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 19:54:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- U.S. Moves to Limit Imports From China -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 09:32:10 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- The Difference in Bond and Stock Returns -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 09:01:43 (EDT)

Terri -:- Diversity and Protection of Portfolios -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 07:03:29 (EDT)

Terri -:- Protecting Portfolios -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 06:47:34 (EDT)

Terri -:- Housing in Britain -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 16:54:19 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Hot TV Soap in a Cool China -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 16:10:21 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bond Market Lessons -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 14:52:26 (EDT)

Terri -:- Growth -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 14:24:44 (EDT)

mikekr -:- Bush’s Gambling Debts -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 13:25:47 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Bush’s Gambling Debts -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 15:03:41 (EDT)
_ mikekr -:- Re: I forgot -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 13:34:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- Attention: Deficit Disorder -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 10:56:38 (EDT)

Emma -:- American Interest Rates and China? -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 10:21:21 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Chinese Deal Gone Awry -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 10:19:12 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Reinvented Irish Bourse -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 10:16:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- China Acts on Property Speculation -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 10:13:57 (EDT)

Terri -:- Italy -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 07:16:10 (EDT)
_
Setanta -:- Re: Italy -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 08:54:27 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Italy -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 10:03:34 (EDT)

Terri -:- Europe -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 07:11:28 (EDT)

Terri -:- Stock Market Valuations -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 05:46:15 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Stockular Momentum -:- Fri, May 13, 2005 at 08:52:55 (EDT)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Thurs, May 12, 2005 at 18:11:52 (EDT)

Terri -:- US Real Wages Fall -:- Thurs, May 12, 2005 at 14:20:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Young and the Jobless -:- Thurs, May 12, 2005 at 10:55:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- Chinese Learn Value of Perks -:- Thurs, May 12, 2005 at 10:46:35 (EDT)

Emma -:- Cambodia's Garment Makers -:- Thurs, May 12, 2005 at 10:37:39 (EDT)

Terri -:- Monetary and Fiscal Policy -:- Thurs, May 12, 2005 at 10:33:32 (EDT)

Terri -:- Monetary Policy Works -:- Thurs, May 12, 2005 at 05:49:41 (EDT)

Terri -:- Fiscal Policy Works -:- Thurs, May 12, 2005 at 05:38:56 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- If they knew what we know now -:- Wed, May 11, 2005 at 22:54:01 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: If they knew what we know now -:- Thurs, May 12, 2005 at 01:48:15 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: If they knew what we know now -:- Thurs, May 12, 2005 at 09:12:03 (EDT)

Terri -:- Thank You All For This Wonderful Board -:- Wed, May 11, 2005 at 22:31:45 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- 'No Comment.' -:- Wed, May 11, 2005 at 18:53:23 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: 'No Comment.' -:- Wed, May 11, 2005 at 21:56:26 (EDT)

Terri -:- Better Economic Growth -:- Wed, May 11, 2005 at 14:11:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- United Air Wins On Pension Default -:- Wed, May 11, 2005 at 13:35:51 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: United Air Wins On Pension Default -:- Wed, May 11, 2005 at 15:21:32 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: United Air Wins On Pension Default -:- Wed, May 11, 2005 at 22:28:36 (EDT)

Emma -:- Morgan Stanley Says Earnings May Falter -:- Wed, May 11, 2005 at 09:28:20 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bond Values -:- Wed, May 11, 2005 at 07:30:25 (EDT)

Terri -:- REITs -:- Wed, May 11, 2005 at 06:01:07 (EDT)
_
David E.. -:- Re: REITs -:- Sat, May 14, 2005 at 15:58:14 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- The return of Robert 'Bonaparte' -:- Tues, May 10, 2005 at 15:52:45 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: The return of Robert 'Bonaparte' -:- Tues, May 10, 2005 at 22:02:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- Duke Energy Will Acquire Cinergy -:- Tues, May 10, 2005 at 12:26:42 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Oh-So-French Bistro: Chinese? -:- Tues, May 10, 2005 at 11:24:14 (EDT)

Emma -:- More Bad Faith on Social Security -:- Tues, May 10, 2005 at 10:37:05 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- More Bad Faith on Social Security - 1 -:- Tues, May 10, 2005 at 10:38:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- Nature at Bay -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 19:01:34 (EDT)

Setanta -:- China Syndrome -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 14:05:31 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: China Syndrome -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 20:52:43 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Why the 30yr bond? -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 13:38:10 (EDT)
_
David E.. -:- It makes sense- -:- Wed, May 11, 2005 at 23:45:27 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Re: Why the 30yr bond? -:- Tues, May 10, 2005 at 05:47:53 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: Why the 30yr bond? -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 20:53:22 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Japan vs US -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 13:30:29 (EDT)
_
Pancho Villa -:- Re: An old joke -:- Tues, May 10, 2005 at 06:48:04 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: An old joke -:- Tues, May 10, 2005 at 09:15:36 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Re: Japan vs US -:- Tues, May 10, 2005 at 06:08:28 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Your interest vs their interest -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 12:48:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- States Propose Changes to Trim Medicaid -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 12:26:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- No New Refineries in 29 Years? -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 11:40:31 (EDT)

Emma -:- Progressive -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 08:17:54 (EDT)

Emma -:- Pressing the Reset Button on Stocks -:- Sun, May 08, 2005 at 17:16:59 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- What's wrong with the reset? -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 11:44:50 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Savings -:- Tues, May 10, 2005 at 05:49:31 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Why? -:- Tues, May 10, 2005 at 09:07:09 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: Why? -:- Tues, May 10, 2005 at 21:34:38 (EDT)
_____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Why? -:- Wed, May 11, 2005 at 09:06:03 (EDT)
______ Emma -:- Re: Why? -:- Wed, May 11, 2005 at 16:16:40 (EDT)
_______ Pete Weis -:- Re: Why? -:- Wed, May 11, 2005 at 21:47:50 (EDT)
________ Terri -:- Re: Why? -:- Wed, May 11, 2005 at 22:30:22 (EDT)
_________ Pete Weis -:- Re: Why? -:- Thurs, May 12, 2005 at 01:00:35 (EDT)

Emma -:- Medicine or Food? -:- Sun, May 08, 2005 at 16:46:33 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Food or Medicine? -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 06:15:01 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Food or Medicine? -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 06:22:42 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: Medicine or Food? -:- Sun, May 08, 2005 at 20:31:19 (EDT)
__ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Medicine and Food? -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 18:53:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Perfect Economic Storm -:- Sun, May 08, 2005 at 10:18:41 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: The Perfect Economic Storm -:- Sun, May 08, 2005 at 10:42:58 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Cigars? -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 00:00:31 (EDT)

Emma -:- Drug Makers Reap Benefits of Tax Break -:- Sun, May 08, 2005 at 09:33:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- Genentech and Susan Desmond-Hellmann -:- Sat, May 07, 2005 at 20:07:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- Feeling Shortchanged, Genteelly -:- Sat, May 07, 2005 at 11:53:36 (EDT)
_
Setanta -:- Re: Feeling Shortchanged, Genteelly -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 14:41:04 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Feeling Shortchanged, Genteelly -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 20:52:06 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- An Important Article -:- Sat, May 07, 2005 at 19:32:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- Ford and General Motors -:- Sat, May 07, 2005 at 10:56:52 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Should We Be Surprised? -:- Sat, May 07, 2005 at 11:03:50 (EDT)

Emma -:- Creation of Jobs Surges -:- Sat, May 07, 2005 at 10:49:56 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Creation of Jobs Surges -:- Sun, May 08, 2005 at 00:36:22 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Creation of Jobs Surges -:- Sun, May 08, 2005 at 06:23:43 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: Creation of Jobs Surges -:- Sun, May 08, 2005 at 09:08:09 (EDT)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Creation of Jobs Surges -:- Sun, May 08, 2005 at 10:24:19 (EDT)
_____ Emma -:- Re: Creation of Jobs Surges -:- Sun, May 08, 2005 at 10:41:16 (EDT)
______ Poyetas -:- Re: Creation of Jobs Surges -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 07:22:26 (EDT)
_______ Ryan -:- Re: Creation of Jobs Surges -:- Wed, May 11, 2005 at 03:01:02 (EDT)
_______ Pete Weis -:- Re: Creation of Jobs Surges -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 11:57:15 (EDT)

Emma -:- China Braces for a More Valuable Yuan -:- Sat, May 07, 2005 at 09:02:05 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- More lies in Appraisals -:- Sat, May 07, 2005 at 07:49:50 (EDT)

Bill Gilwood -:- China Price -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 23:11:01 (EDT)
_
Pancho Villa -:- Re: Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est -:- Sat, May 07, 2005 at 08:01:20 (EDT)
_ Jennifer -:- Re: China Price -:- Sat, May 07, 2005 at 07:01:42 (EDT)
__ Bill Gilwood -:- Re: China Price -:- Sat, May 07, 2005 at 17:54:37 (EDT)
__ Bill Gilwood -:- Re: China Price -:- Sat, May 07, 2005 at 17:54:06 (EDT)
___ Pancho Villa -:- Re: China Price -:- Sat, May 07, 2005 at 21:11:46 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- PK's immunity? -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 17:56:46 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: PK's immunity? -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 19:53:50 (EDT)
__ Pancho Villa -:- Re: PK's immunity? -:- Sat, May 07, 2005 at 08:04:24 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- I couldn't care less, could eye? -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 17:43:52 (EDT)
_
Setanta -:- Re: I couldn't care less, could eye? -:- Mon, May 09, 2005 at 14:54:07 (EDT)
_ Pete Weis -:- There will be...... -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 21:40:25 (EDT)

Terri -:- Education -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 16:44:33 (EDT)

Terri -:- A Monetary Policy Success -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 16:31:40 (EDT)

Terri -:- Strong, Broad-Based Job Growth -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 13:35:28 (EDT)

Terri -:- Satisfying Employment Numbers -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 12:18:11 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- A Mild Slowing -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 13:05:42 (EDT)

Emma -:- Kenya: A Better Way to Fight Poverty -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 11:18:48 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- What? -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 16:49:00 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: What? -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 20:11:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- States and Employers and Health Care -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 10:22:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- Credit Rankings of G.M. and Ford -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 10:19:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- I.B.M. Job Cuts Will Hit Europe Hard -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 10:04:39 (EDT)

Poyetas -:- Socialist Economics -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 09:47:23 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Re: Socialist Economics -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 10:27:15 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- You have to wonder.... -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 21:46:11 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Those earnings reports -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 09:14:05 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Protectionist moves -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 09:00:51 (EDT)
_
Pancho Villa alias Triché II -:- Re: Kudos to GS for... -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 17:16:09 (EDT)

Terri -:- Japan's Deflation -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 06:01:06 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Japan's Deflation -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 09:37:17 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Japan's Deflation -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 14:38:27 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Education -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 07:27:33 (EDT)
__ Setanta -:- Re: Education -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 09:11:55 (EDT)
___ Pancho Villa -:- Re: One Step Beyond -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 16:45:49 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- You speak truth Setanta -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 09:38:45 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: You speak truth Setanta -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 10:12:53 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Japan conundrum -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 05:27:18 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Japan conundrum -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 20:47:50 (EDT)

Terri -:- Credit Ratings and Bond Fund Prices -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 20:06:06 (EDT)

Terri -:- New York City Revenue Streams -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 18:55:09 (EDT)

Terri -:- Productivity and Labor Demand -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 16:29:58 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Productivity and Economic Growth -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 17:18:25 (EDT)
__ Poyetas -:- Re: Productivity and Economic Growth -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 09:12:33 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Teens getting on Drugs -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 05:17:05 (EDT)

Terri -:- Whole Foods and Trader Joe's: Hmmm -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 14:19:03 (EDT)
_
Dorian -:- Re: Whole Foods and Trader Joe's: Hmmm -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 04:31:33 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Whole Foods and Trader Joe's: Hmmm -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 06:08:02 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Whole Foods and Trader Joe's: Hmmm -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 06:32:27 (EDT)

Terri -:- General Motors and Ford -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 13:33:48 (EDT)
_
Setanta -:- Re: General Motors and Ford -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 06:56:18 (EDT)
__ Poyetas -:- Re: General Motors and Ford -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 11:10:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- As Britain Votes -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 12:32:25 (EDT)

Emma -:- Politicizing Public Broadcasting -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 11:43:14 (EDT)

Terri -:- International Borrowing -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 11:37:11 (EDT)

Terri -:- Housing and Growth -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 11:35:57 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Housing and Growth -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 15:26:57 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Housing and Growth -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 19:05:55 (EDT)
_ Ryan -:- Re: Housing and Growth -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 15:26:17 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Housing and Growth -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 17:32:58 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- -:-
It's just an illusion
-:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 11:28:32 (EDT) > -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 11:28:32 (EDT)

Mona Smith -:- Social Security -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 10:50:39 (EDT)
_
Susan D. -:- Re: Conservatives and GOP hate Social Security -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 15:08:02 (EDT)
__ Mona -:- Re: Conservatives and GOP hate Social Security -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 17:01:56 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Re: Social Security -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 11:05:06 (EDT)
_ johnny5 -:- we FEEL you -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 10:59:54 (EDT)
__ Setanta -:- Re: we FEEL you -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 12:05:22 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: we FEEL you -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 12:13:08 (EDT)
__ Mona Smith -:- Re: we FEEL you -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 11:49:36 (EDT)
___ johnny5 -:- Mental Midgets -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 04:58:45 (EDT)
____ Susan -:- Re: Mental Midgets -:- Sun, May 08, 2005 at 06:57:27 (EDT)
___ Mona Smith -:- Re: we FEEL you -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 11:55:32 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Income Insurance -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 12:11:20 (EDT)
_____ Poyetas -:- Re: Income Insurance -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 09:34:09 (EDT)
______ JimBob -:- Re: Income Insurance -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 11:05:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Thrift Imperative -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 10:47:13 (EDT)

Terri -:- Employment -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 10:12:08 (EDT)
_
Ryan -:- Re: Employment -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 15:19:09 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Employment -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 16:48:34 (EDT)

Emma -:- Germany Faults Overseas Investors -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 09:55:37 (EDT)

Emma -:- I.B.M. Lay Offs in Europe -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 09:53:42 (EDT)

Terri -:- Social Security and Treasury Bonds -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 06:25:16 (EDT)

Terri -:- Treasury Bond Market Duration -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 06:00:00 (EDT)

Terri -:- A Promising Stock Market -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 14:58:59 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Economic Worries -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 10:56:31 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- 1994 vs 2005 -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 15:21:01 (EDT)
_ johnny5 -:- Deja Vu -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 08:40:23 (EDT)
_ Pete Weis -:- Re: A Promising Stock Market -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 21:30:27 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: A Promising Stock Market -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 05:52:02 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Paul Volker and this..... -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 09:24:36 (EDT)

Terri -:- Health Care in South Africa -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 13:49:04 (EDT)
_
Mik -:- Re: Health Care in South Africa -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 13:32:34 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Health Care in South Africa -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 16:36:20 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Health Care in South Africa -:- Thurs, May 05, 2005 at 18:17:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- Why Can't Wal-Mart Pay More? -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 13:04:19 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- David Tice Prudent Bear on CNBC 2pm -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 11:23:42 (EDT)

Emma -:- A New 'China Syndrome' -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 10:31:39 (EDT)
_
Pancho Villa -:- Re: A New 'China Syndrome' -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 11:21:56 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Pozen Pill (Prozac?) -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 08:55:34 (EDT)
_
Jennifer -:- Re: Pozen Pill (Prozac?) -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 09:50:52 (EDT)

Terri -:- Saving Bluefin Tuna -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 05:51:38 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Saving Bluefin Tuna -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 05:53:52 (EDT)

Emma -:- Hitting the Middle Class, Again -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 20:15:37 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Social Security is Wonderful -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 06:07:37 (EDT)

unlawflcombatnt -:- Outsourcing to a Ship -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 18:14:45 (EDT)
_
unlawflcombatnt -:- Outsourcing to a Ship -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 18:18:24 (EDT)

Terri -:- Federal Reserve Policy -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 17:07:01 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Federal Reserve Policy -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 21:36:17 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Federal Reserve Policy -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 05:44:05 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bond Price Stability -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 15:47:15 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Bond Price Stability -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 21:40:23 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Bond Price Stability -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 05:41:35 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Insider selling -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 15:02:04 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Insider selling -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 15:13:15 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- What is Being Bought -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 05:47:02 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: What is Being Bought -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 08:56:25 (EDT)

Emma -:- Tracking the Imperiled Bluefin -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 12:47:39 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- It's amazing to watch..... -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 21:49:17 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Saddening -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 05:48:53 (EDT)

Emma -:- A.I.G. Accounting -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 11:23:13 (EDT)
_
Setanta -:- Re: A.I.G. Accounting -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 09:35:06 (EDT)
_ Pete Weis -:- The tide...... -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 21:37:50 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Thanks Eliot Spitzer -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 05:46:01 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: Thanks Eliot Spitzer -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 09:11:44 (EDT)
____ Jennifer -:- Re: Thanks Eliot Spitzer -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 09:47:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- On Path to China-Taiwan Détente -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 10:53:02 (EDT)

Emma -:- Modified Rice May Benefit China -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 10:32:23 (EDT)

Emma -:- Beijing and Tokoyo -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 10:28:31 (EDT)

Setanta -:- The counter-revolutionaries -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 08:59:09 (EDT)

Terri -:- Interest Rates -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 06:21:53 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- The great bind -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 09:00:50 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: The great bind -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 10:25:42 (EDT)
___ johnny5 -:- My jobless friends -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 10:35:38 (EDT)

Terri -:- Monetary Policy -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 06:13:10 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Arnold says Girlie Men Liberals bad -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 10:29:44 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Girl Power as Boy Bashing -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 05:54:02 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Mr. Chavez viva la revolution! -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 02:46:17 (EDT)

Mik -:- Obsession with Privatisation -:- Mon, May 02, 2005 at 14:19:42 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Obsession with Privatisation -:- Mon, May 02, 2005 at 14:51:20 (EDT)
__ Mik -:- Re: Obsession with Privatisation -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 10:56:32 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Obsession with Privatisation -:- Wed, May 04, 2005 at 12:14:54 (EDT)

Emma -:- Methods to Reduce Blood Pressure -:- Mon, May 02, 2005 at 12:50:45 (EDT)

Emma -:- 'Normal' Blood Pressure -:- Mon, May 02, 2005 at 12:05:14 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- How Now, Dow Ow -:- Mon, May 02, 2005 at 10:54:48 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Jolt to Team Japan: Bonus Demands -:- Mon, May 02, 2005 at 10:53:32 (EDT)

Emma -:- Republicans Exerts Pressure on PBS -:- Mon, May 02, 2005 at 09:54:37 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- A Tragedy -:- Tues, May 03, 2005 at 08:47:46 (EDT)

byron -:- something to think about -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 23:14:18 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- The fundamental reasons... -:- Mon, May 02, 2005 at 18:20:29 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Health of Nations: England -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 20:27:48 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Britains QUESTION TIME -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 19:38:19 (EDT)

Emma -:- Social Security -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 19:22:39 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Social Security ? -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 20:07:39 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Broke retirees -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 22:19:06 (EDT)
_ johnny5 -:- Judged by how you treat the least of you -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 19:56:16 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Thomas Friedman on Cspan for Emma -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 19:06:11 (EDT)

Terri -:- Social Security? If You Were Wondering -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 10:31:44 (EDT)

Emma -:- For Buffett, the One That Got Away -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 10:02:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Wealth of Yet More Nations -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 09:49:36 (EDT)

Emma -:- Bowling for Democracy -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 09:44:30 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- The gladiators of Rome -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 19:18:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- Vietnam, 30 Years Later -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 09:30:33 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Wealth Gap rising -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 22:04:56 (EDT)

Emma -:- China and Taiwan Come Closer -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 09:27:48 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Economic Forecasting - Laugh it up Pete -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 08:14:34 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Funny -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 11:58:13 (EDT)

Terri -:- Long Term Short Term Interest -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 07:18:13 (EDT)

Terri -:- American Saving -:- Sun, May 01, 2005 at 06:32:44 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Oracle down for the count - but not out -:- Sat, Apr 30, 2005 at 19:19:02 (EDT)

Emma -:- Global Playing Field -:- Sat, Apr 30, 2005 at 15:37:43 (EDT)

Emma -:- South Africa: A Would-Be Pilot -:- Sat, Apr 30, 2005 at 11:52:31 (EDT)
_
Gary Walther -:- Re: South Africa: A Would-Be Pilot -:- Fri, May 06, 2005 at 17:25:09 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Reaganomics lives on -:- Sat, Apr 30, 2005 at 11:00:01 (EDT)

Emma -:- China and Taiwan -:- Sat, Apr 30, 2005 at 10:15:22 (EDT)

Emma -:- China: A Currency Afloat -:- Sat, Apr 30, 2005 at 10:14:03 (EDT)

Emma -:- 'What, Me Worry?' -:- Sat, Apr 30, 2005 at 10:00:55 (EDT)

Emma -:- Norway: The $6.66-a-Gallon Solution -:- Sat, Apr 30, 2005 at 09:38:50 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Sector Indexes -:- Fri, Apr 29, 2005 at 21:02:53 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Fri, Apr 29, 2005 at 21:15:46 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Natural and the Sacred in China -:- Fri, Apr 29, 2005 at 12:58:24 (EDT)

Emma -:- Cut Medicaid, Cut Taxes, Repeat -:- Fri, Apr 29, 2005 at 12:09:28 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bond Funds are Faring Well -:- Fri, Apr 29, 2005 at 11:57:00 (EDT)

Emma -:- Mystery of India's Poverty -:- Fri, Apr 29, 2005 at 10:52:33 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- It's not about your time horizon...... -:- Fri, Apr 29, 2005 at 10:33:27 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: It's not about your time horizon...... -:- Fri, Apr 29, 2005 at 11:22:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- Europe is and is Not Working -:- Fri, Apr 29, 2005 at 09:48:06 (EDT)

Terri -:- Saving and Investing -:- Fri, Apr 29, 2005 at 08:20:54 (EDT)

Terri -:- China and America -:- Fri, Apr 29, 2005 at 08:17:33 (EDT)

Terri -:- Savings -:- Fri, Apr 29, 2005 at 06:31:46 (EDT)

Terri -:- Social Security -:- Fri, Apr 29, 2005 at 06:17:54 (EDT)

Terri -:- Slowing Growth -:- Fri, Apr 29, 2005 at 05:58:53 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Bush kisses the saud -:- Fri, Apr 29, 2005 at 17:51:13 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Our President seems to be....... -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 23:43:54 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Energy Conservation and Efficiency -:- Fri, Apr 29, 2005 at 05:46:55 (EDT)

Terri -:- Slow Growth and Low Inflation -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 14:25:10 (EDT)

Terri -:- Monetary and Fiscal Policy -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 13:11:34 (EDT)

Emma -:- Low-Tech Businesses Are Booming -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 11:58:12 (EDT)

Emma -:- Why Bubbles May Happen -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 10:24:29 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- The present looks more & more like past -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 09:33:55 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Bogle 70% bond funds - worried about economy -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 09:24:53 (EDT)
_
Ari -:- Re: Bogle 70% bond funds - worried about economy -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 09:44:47 (EDT)
__ David E.. -:- Re: Bogle 70% bond funds - worried about economy -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 21:07:09 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Re: Bogle 70% bond funds - worried about economy -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 21:54:53 (EDT)

Terri -:- European Integration -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 08:52:16 (EDT)
_
Setanta -:- Re: European Integration -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 11:37:21 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Greenspan Confidant sees America = Argentina -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 08:31:23 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Re: Greenspan Confidant sees America = Argentina -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 10:15:28 (EDT)

Terri -:- Japanese Growth -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 06:15:02 (EDT)

Terri -:- Europe as a Whole -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 06:03:54 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Johnny's Ukraine Friends -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 08:34:20 (EDT)

Terri -:- European Growth is Slowing -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 05:57:59 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Bogle on CNBC squawk BOX this morning -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 05:43:33 (EDT)

Setanta -:- ECB interest rates -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 04:16:47 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- the 6 trillion dollar question -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 05:11:13 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Voter Eligible Population -:- Thurs, Apr 28, 2005 at 00:36:18 (EDT)

Emma -:- Prothonotary Warbler Taking a Drink -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 21:25:59 (EDT)

Terri -:- Buget Arguments -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 18:50:07 (EDT)
_
David E.. -:- Re: Buget Arguments -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 20:26:06 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Budget Projections -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 20:39:43 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Budget Arguments -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 18:51:06 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Politics to the redneck -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 18:22:28 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- The point is Terri -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 18:24:05 (EDT)

Emma -:- In Ethiopian Hills -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 15:53:07 (EDT)

Ken -:- Filibuster -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 14:16:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- By Cheese Possessed -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 12:27:52 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Well, I Like Cheese -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 12:43:06 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Hapless British Tories -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 12:12:38 (EDT)

Terri -:- On Income Taxes -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 10:40:49 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Positive Thinking -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 18:11:27 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: On Income Taxes -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 11:07:03 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Less income tax - more wealth tax -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 18:12:53 (EDT)
___ jimsum -:- Re: Less income tax - more wealth tax -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 22:31:15 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- The approaching energy gap -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 10:16:40 (EDT)

Emma -:- Fears Mount That Germany Faces Recession -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 10:11:15 (EDT)

Terri -:- Deficits and Taxes -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 08:40:40 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Why do you believe this? -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 10:17:50 (EDT)

Terri -:- REITs and Treasuries -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 08:02:01 (EDT)
_
David E.. -:- Re: REITs and Treasuries -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 12:00:39 (EDT)

Emma -:- Private Pensions in Chile -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 06:28:21 (EDT)
_
David E.. -:- Re: Private Pensions in Chile -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 11:59:14 (EDT)
__ David E.. -:- Private Pensions in Texas -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 15:33:32 (EDT)
___ Emma -:- Re: Private Pensions in Texas -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 15:50:08 (EDT)
____ David E.. -:- Re: Private Pensions in Texas -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 16:21:16 (EDT)
_____ Emma -:- Re: Private Pensions in Texas -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 16:47:50 (EDT)
______ Emma -:- Re: Private Pensions in Texas -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 17:02:54 (EDT)

Emma -:- Chile: The Proof's in the Pension -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 18:06:07 (EDT)
_
David E.. -:- Re: Chile: The Proof's in the Pension -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 19:24:29 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Chile: The Proof's in the Pension -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 19:56:39 (EDT)
___ jimsum -:- Re: Chile: The Proof's in the Pension -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 21:12:53 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Re: Chile: The Proof's in the Pension -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 22:10:45 (EDT)
_____ jimsum -:- Re: Chile: The Proof's in the Pension -:- Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 21:41:45 (EDT)
____ David E.. -:- Re: Chile: The Proof's in the Pension -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 21:21:25 (EDT)
_____ Emma -:- Re: Chile: The Proof's in the Pension -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 22:12:48 (EDT)
_____ Emma -:- Re: Chile: The Proof's in the Pension -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 21:42:00 (EDT)

Emma -:- Venezuela and America -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 16:25:50 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Bush gives muslim friends Pork sandwich!! -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 12:51:15 (EDT)

Emma -:- About the Oceans, Attention Must Be Paid -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 12:19:53 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Fed comforted by sluggish wages? -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 10:33:49 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Less wages = less stock purchasers no? -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 12:32:58 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Re: Fed comforted by sluggish wages? -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 12:01:17 (EDT)

Terri -:- Fiscal and Monetary Policy -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 10:28:58 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Richies like taxes - new study on afflient -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 13:30:11 (EDT)
_ johnny5 -:- Richies like taxes - new study on afflient -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 13:30:07 (EDT)
_ Terri -:- Export Taxes -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 11:33:03 (EDT)
_ Pete Weis -:- Read 'A(C)C/D(C)C' -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 11:07:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- China and Efforts to Restore Quotas -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 10:02:02 (EDT)

Terri -:- The REIT Index -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 06:16:32 (EDT)

David E.. -:- Greenspan has critics - -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 23:19:13 (EDT)
_
David E.. -:- typo -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 23:21:29 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- General Ralph Landry -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 03:15:47 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Hu's strangling grip -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 21:47:37 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Teach them to buy 600 dollar jeans! -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 20:50:29 (EDT)

David E.. -:- Vanguard and demutualization -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 19:47:08 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Mutual Status is Secure -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 05:59:56 (EDT)
__ David E.. -:- Re: Mutual Status is Secure -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 12:00:09 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- www.blog.com -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 17:54:44 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- A(C)C/D(C)C -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 17:17:05 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- The sane solution..... -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 17:55:08 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Thank You -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 17:59:35 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Man the barricades! -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 15:06:16 (EDT)

Emma -:- Microsoft and Chinese Technical Skill -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 14:17:38 (EDT)

Emma -:- China and Quotas on Textiles -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 12:37:18 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- 'They all fudge don't they' -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 10:41:51 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Hundred Cellphones Bloom in China -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 10:32:39 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Tax Benefit for Big Donors -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 10:21:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- Fiscal Growth in Latin Lands Fails -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 10:14:57 (EDT)

Emma -:- The Feng Shui Kingdom -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 10:12:27 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Fragile Success in Africa -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 10:09:24 (EDT)

Emma -:- A Road Runs Through Tara -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 10:08:25 (EDT)
_
Setanta -:- Re: A Road Runs Through Tara -:- Tues, Apr 26, 2005 at 10:10:36 (EDT)

Paul G. Brown -:- PK channels Dr. Gonzo (Just for Terri) -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 02:29:59 (EDT)

Bambitroll -:- Missing articles on NYT -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 01:59:36 (EDT)
_
Bambitroll -:- Re: Missing articles on NYT -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 09:16:59 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Missing articles on NYT -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 10:03:06 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- One Nation Under Therapy Cspn2 - 6am -:- Mon, Apr 25, 2005 at 00:34:04 (EDT)

Terri -:- Health Care, Energy, Precious Metals -:- Sun, Apr 24, 2005 at 19:35:05 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Very true Terri -:- Sun, Apr 24, 2005 at 19:57:53 (EDT)

Terri -:- Aging Investors -:- Sun, Apr 24, 2005 at 18:54:10 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Best time to invest...... -:- Sun, Apr 24, 2005 at 20:18:19 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Bear issues -:- Sun, Apr 24, 2005 at 23:47:09 (EDT)

Terri -:- Health Care Comparisons -:- Sun, Apr 24, 2005 at 18:23:07 (EDT)

EconomicPopulistCommentary www.unlawflcombatnt.blogspot.com/

Subject: Preparing in a Bubble
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 18:32:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The problem with bubbles is that they can last and last. We do not know for sure whether there is a broad housing or even a commercial real estate bubble, we do not know how long it may go on, or what effect there might be in an ending. Nonetheless, as in 2000, we need to be invested but to be prepared for a market turn.

Subject: Tobin Tax
From: Thomas
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 17:08:01 (EDT)
Email Address: tosi@gmx-ist-cool.de

Message:
Hi there Did Krugman advance an opinion on Tobin's tax? Thanks & best, Thomas

Subject: Re: Tobin Tax
From: Terri
To: Thomas
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 18:03:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
See the terrific search for this site. Note Krugman: The New York Times, 3.12.02 on James Tobin. There is more.

Subject: Re: Tobin Tax
From: Thomas
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 18:26:18 (EDT)
Email Address: tosi@gmx-ist-cool.de

Message:
See the terrific search for this site. Note Krugman: The New York Times, 3.12.02 on James Tobin. There is more.
---
In this article Krugman does neither approve nor disapprove the Tobin Tax though from his other articles it becomes clear that he prefers capital controls. However, I look for clear opinions of outstanding left wing economists on the Tobin Tax like Krugman, Bhagwati, Stiglitz, etc.

Subject: Re: Tobin Tax
From: Terri
To: Thomas
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 18:50:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Frankly, a fine question to which I do not know the answer. I would suspect Krugman would generally favor the tax over capital controls as Stiglitz does. But, for China capital controls seem to almost everyone to be working well. The answer then may more likely be conditional to the economy.

Subject: Bubble and Deficit
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 16:19:14 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There are alternate resolutions to the deficit and housing strains in the economy. There is minimal household saving and a federal deficit which has resulted in a balance of trade deficit. The trade deficit is being funded by importing capital. China, Japan, Brazil, South Africa, and others are supporting our trade deficit. Should the dollar begin to seriously decline in value against the Chinese Yuan in particular capital inflows would lessen and long term interest rates would rise. But, this brings us to housing. An increase in interest rates could seriously threaten the housing market and a weakening housing market would threaten the economy. We are then vulnerable to any lessening of capital inflows. But, we are as well vulnerable to a slowing in the housing market as the Federal Reserve continues to raise short term interest rates. A slowing in housing growth induced by the Fed would weaken the economy as surely as a decline in the value of the dollar against the Yuan, though long term interest rates in this instance would decline. We have then alternate resolutions to our growing imbalances, and both of the resolutions are rather ominous. What troubles me is finding no ready and likely policy to counter the dangers of the housing bubble and deficits.

Subject: Spread of AIDS in India
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 14:09:23 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/27/international/asia/27aids.html?pagewanted=all Spread of AIDS in India Outpaces Scant Treatment Effort By SOMINI SENGUPTA MUMBAI, India - On an ordinary Thursday morning at the city's largest public hospital, an ordinary group of Indians sat around a table, exchanging advice on life and death. A middle-aged man in a button-down shirt said he had long ago stopped having sex with his wife. A wisp of a woman sat quietly in a black burqa, her large eyes screaming bafflement at what she was being told. A plump woman in a brown sari requested that nothing be mailed to her home, for fear that her family would discover her secret. They were all living with AIDS. Two counselors issued a stream of instructions. Come to the hospital yourself if you want free medicines. Don't send relatives. Don't go to your village for so long this summer that you cannot come back in time for your next dose. Never skip a dose. 'There's no need to be afraid,' one said, though the counselors' noses were shielded by surgical masks. The scene in this sunny hallway of J. J. Hospital here in Mumbai, formerly Bombay, offered a front-line snapshot of the first efforts to treat AIDS in India, where stigma, poverty, an anemic public health system and the sheer scale of the pandemic combine in a daunting challenge. The government estimates that India has 5.1 million people infected with H.I.V., second only to South Africa. Only a year ago did the government start offering free drug therapy. Today, in a country that famously exports low-cost generic AIDS drugs across the world, less than 2 percent of the half-million Indians who are likely to need it receive free treatment. 'Our government works in a snail's pace,' said Neville Selhore, director of an advocacy group in Delhi called Sahara. 'The whole H.I.V. response has been very slow.' In a country of a billion people, 5.1 million cases are, as the government points out, a drop in the bucket. But as public health workers note, India is at a pivotal moment. It could go the way of South Africa, where a lack of treatment allowed the virus to explode, or that of Brazil, where early and aggressive treatment programs checked the spread of infection. Given India's population, the AIDS pandemic, if not immediately tackled, could far outstrip the devastation visited on many African countries, AIDS advocates warn. In January the World Health Organization called attention to India, as well as Nigeria and South Africa, for not moving fast enough on treatment. Among Indians, AIDS already is no longer confined to the high-risk groups who are believed to have been responsible for its early spread: prostitutes, their customers and users of injected drugs. Nor does it remain a city disease. The number of local districts considered high-prevalence areas doubled in 2004. Perhaps most worrisome, the majority of Indians who are infected do not know that they have the virus or are spreading it. Offering access to treatment, health workers say, is the best way to persuade people to be tested. It is also the only way to quash the stigma still associated with AIDS. 'India is at a real turning point,' said Ira C. Magaziner, chairman of the Clinton Foundation's H.I.V./AIDS Initiative. 'If they can address it now with treatment and prevention programs, they can turn it around.' [Former President Bill Clinton was in India on Thursday to announce a training program for 150,000 private doctors treating AIDS cases. His visit followed an announcement by the government that it had succeeded in slowing the growth rates of the infection. Compared with 520,000 new infections in 2003, government health officials announced, only 28,000 new cases turned up in 2004.] Still, the government is behind on its own treatment pledge. Last year, when India began its free drug therapy program, it promised to extend coverage to 100,000 patients by April of this year, but only 8,000 now receive it. The government recently repeated its 100,000 pledge, this time giving itself a deadline of 2007. The private sector, meanwhile, has proved more aggressive, serving at least 20,000 Indians who have purchased antiretroviral drugs, according to government estimates. But the kinds of doctors treating them, and how well, remains a mystery. One private practitioner in central Mumbai, Dr. Prakash Bora, said he had tended to 3,500 H.I.V.-positive people in the last 12 years. Patients visit his office, he said, to avoid the crowds, long lines and humiliation associated with the public system. As if on cue one evening, a government clerk walked in. He said he had done everything possible to avoid a public hospital; he had not even disclosed his H.I.V. status to his wife, and he declined to divulge his name to a reporter. The patient said he had not yet thought about how he would afford antiretroviral therapy if he should need it. At the moment he spends roughly $25 a month for vitamins and the traditional Ayurvedic medicines that Dr. Bora prescribes. Today, antiretroviral therapy for first-time patients costs about $25 a month at a city pharmacy, a hefty amount for many working-class Indians. Those who develop resistance to the first-line treatment, or those who need an alternative drug 'cocktail' pay more than twice that amount. The impact of India's new patent law, which bars Indian companies from producing new low-cost generic drugs, has yet to be felt. Sometimes, Dr. Bora said, if patients are buying their own medicines, a crimp in the family budget can force them to go off the medicines, or skip a dose or two to stretch out the prescription. That so few Indians have gotten government-financed treatment points to a host of problems, from the lack of confidence in public hospitals, to a shortage of trained doctors and supplies in parts of the country, to the scarcity of hospitals and health centers where testing and treatment are available. In short, AIDS has tested the fragility of a public health system financed by less than one percent of the country's gross domestic product. In one state, Manipur, the head of the state AIDS agency, Binod Kumar Sharma, said there was simply not enough medicine or money to meet the demand, nor enough equipment for tests. At the moment, he said, 432 people are under treatment, but another 1,500 are eligible. 'India has a long, long way to go in scaling up wide-scale access to testing and treatment,' Dr. Richard Feachem, director of the Geneva-based Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said in a telephone interview. 'Can India afford it? Certainly. Does India have the human resources, the institutional resources to mount an effective response? Certainly.' Of the $107 million allocated by the Global Fund for AIDS prevention and treatment programs in India, only $12 million has been disbursed. Dr. Feachem said that was because of 'a certain slowness in utilization of funds.' For their part, Indian government officials say a hasty distribution of antiretroviral drugs without proper training and infrastructure would cause other problems, including people dropping out of the treatment program. 'You cannot just start everything under a tree,' said Dr. S. Y. Quraishi, chief of India's National AIDS Control Organization. 'This is totally new in India,' Dr. Quraishi said. 'One of the problems is that patients themselves have to come forward. As word is going around, people are coming. Their numbers will go up.' He said that before the end of the year he hoped to make antiretroviral treatment available in 100 hospitals and health centers across India, up from 25 now. Why so few Indians are able to get treatment came into sharp relief at a Catholic-run hospice in a far-flung suburb in New Mumbai, about an hour's drive from J. J. Hospital. Only one of the 38 patients housed there gets free treatment from J. J. Hospital. The Catholic nuns who run the hospice, the Sisters of the Destitute, say they have no means to ferry their patients to the hospital, wait in line and return for follow-up appointments. The hospital asks each patient to bring a relative to monitor treatment. The hospice's patients have no one to bring. They have no money to commute to and from the hospital. 'There are many thousands in Bombay,' Sister Bede, the administrator, said. 'Many many are in need of it.' Of the 850 patients admitted to the hospice in the last five years, Sister Bede said, 350 have died.

Subject: A Housing Bubble, Then What?
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 13:59:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Then we appear to have a housing bubble, and the problem if we do and the bubble bursts as all must burst is what then? So, I am finally worried. From here I think once again what portfolio protection means, and I think more conservatively than I have since 2000. Of course, in 2000 we had wonderful bond yields but not so now. Still, even a level priced housing market would weaken an economy so heavily depending on housing and this will keep long term interests rates from rising. The problem deepens.

Subject: China and Water
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 11:52:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/27/international/asia/27lake.html A Crescent of Water Is Slowly Sinking Into the Desert By JIM YARDLEY DUNHUANG, China - At the bottom of the mountainous dunes once traversed by traders and pilgrims on the ancient Silk Road, Wang Qixiang stood with a camera draped around his neck. He was a modern-day pilgrim of sorts, a tourist. He and his wife had traveled by train more than 2,000 miles from eastern China to the forbidding emptiness of the Gobi Desert to glimpse at a famous pool of water known as Crescent Lake. They came because the lake has been rapidly shrinking into the desert sand, and they feared it might soon disappear. 'It is a miracle of the desert,' said Mr. Wang, 67. In this desert oasis where East once met West and that is home to one of the world's greatest shrines to Buddhism, the water is disappearing. Crescent Lake has dropped more than 25 feet in the last three decades while the underground water table elsewhere in the area has fallen by as much as 35 feet. An ancient city that once served as China's gateway to the West, Dunhuang is now threatened by very modern demands. A dam built three decades ago to help local farming, combined with a doubling of the population, have overstressed a fragile desert hydrology that had been stable for thousands of years. 'I would call it an ecological crisis,' said Zhang Mingquan, a professor at Lanzhou University who specializes in the region's hydrology. 'The problem is the human impact. People are overusing the amount of water that the area can sustain.' Here as elsewhere in western China, the country's poorest region, the emphasis in recent decades has been on economic development at all costs. Isolated by the desert, Dunhuang has virtually no industry, so agriculture has dominated the local economy. In the 1970's, the government dammed the Dang River, which once flowed past the city, to provide better irrigation for farmland and to help relieve poverty. Farming did improve, but in a fashion that brought a larger burden: a desert oasis that had fewer than 100,000 people before the dam now has roughly 180,000. As more people arrived, the underground water table that is the city's main source of drinking water started dropping. The pressure now to preserve Dunhuang is amplified by the growing recognition of the city's major cultural and historic significance. The nearby Mogao Caves, painted with murals dating to the fourth century, were built by the monks who helped bring Buddhism from India. The caves have been designated as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. The caves are a legacy of Dunhuang's emergence more than 2,000 years ago during the Han Dynasty as a crucial entranceway into China by the Silk Road, which served as the principal trade route to the West. Merchants and pilgrims made the journey by following the string of oases that skirted the brutal Taklamakan Desert, which many considered haunted by demons and ghosts. 'At times one can hear soughing, or sobbing, but suddenly one does not know where to turn. ... Thus many perish,' the seventh-century Chinese monk Xuanzang wrote of the voices he heard in the brutal heat. He described the desert as so bleak and empty that travelers stacked up bones as landmarks. Farming in Dunhuang also dates to the Han Dynasty, and among the tens of thousands of manuscripts found inside the Mogao Caves was a map that detailed the region's critical water sources. Now, in the village of Zhabacha, about seven miles north of the city center, the water table has dropped more than three feet in the past five years alone. Beneath a midday sun on Tuesday that had driven other farmers into their crumbling adobe homes, He Zhailin flooded a small plot of wheat with irrigated water. Mr. He said that he tripled his amount of cultivated land during the last decade and that some farmers had expanded even more. Until recently, he said, government officials had encouraged farmers to plant more crops. 'There was a lot of water so the government encouraged people to cultivate the land,' recalled Mr. He, 40. 'At the time, it never dried up.' Now, local officials have introduced a strict policy known as the 'Three Forbids' that bans any new farmland, forbids new migrants from moving to the city and prohibits any new wells. The need to protect the underground water is magnified by the fact that almost 90 percent of water from the Dang Reservoir is dedicated to agriculture. Mr. Zhang, the Lanzhou University professor, stressed that reducing consumption was the solution to the problem and noted that the supply of glacial melt from the Qilian Mountains that feeds the Dang River - and by extension the rest of the oasis - remained largely unchanged from centuries ago. Even so, there are proposals to divert water from a river in Tibet, though the likelihood of such a plan is far from certain. Conservation has become particularly crucial because Dunhuang has emerged as one of the leading tourist attractions in western China, giving the city a veneer of prosperity rare in rural regions. Last year, more than 430,000 tickets were sold to the Mogao Caves. In all likelihood, even more people visited Crescent Lake, which is nestled in the picturesque dunes known as the Singing Sands. The lake, also a World Heritage Site, began shrinking in the 1970's and is now about a third of its original size. In the 1990's, officials tried pumping in water but quit because the transfers were polluting the lake. More recently, reservoirs have been built a short distance away in hopes that water would seep into the ground and help Crescent Lake, also called Crescent Moon Lake and Crescent Spring. 'As local people, we are very worried,' said Fan Cun, who heads the agency overseeing the lake. 'We would have failed future generations if we watch this lake disappear.'

Subject: Where's the Boeuf?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 11:02:31 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/27/opinion/27tournier.html Where's the Boeuf? By VINCENT TOURNIER Grenoble, France WITH its project for a European Constitution, is Europe reliving the history of the United States? The Europeans take the comparison very seriously: they baptized the assembly charged with writing the document the 'Convention,' in imitation of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. The president of the Convention, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, even proposed 'Federalist papers' on the model of those written by the founders of the American democracy. Americans would no doubt be astonished by the comparison. Even a cursory look at the Constitutions drawn up by both Conventions demonstrates how far off Mr. Giscard is. In a few pages, the American Constitution established a foundation for the growth of democracy. In 450 pages, the European Constitution - which establishes power-sharing among European Union members, provides for a foreign minister and full-time president and states more precisely the functions of the union and the member states - enshrines a plethora of rules and regulations while ignoring the fundamental needs of democracy. When the French vote on Sunday on whether to accept the Constitution, one can ask if a resounding 'non' that would send the document back to the drawing board would be a far greater service to Europe than the 'oui' that French and European Union officials are urging. Even before the 105 delegates to the Convention sat down to write the draft Constitution, the European-American comparison was strained. First, of course, the 25 European states are clearly more diverse than the 13 former colonies, with neither the same language nor the same cultural traditions. They are old nations whose identities have been fashioned over the centuries by wars that have pitted one against the other. That's why the debates about the 'European project' have mainly concerned each nation's prerogatives, each government putting a priority on preserving its sovereignty and assuring itself a leading role in the power structure. Discussions about democratic principles like the separation of powers and fundamental rights have been relegated to the background. Second, while the American Constitution stemmed from the fight for independence, the European Constitution is disconnected from history. Even though the union likes to say that Europe was born from the ashes of World War II, it is obvious that there is no particular reason for a European project at this particular moment. That has affected how the Constitution was conceived and written. The participants in the Convention (who were appointed, not elected) certainly have good intentions, but are they worthy of such a lofty task? In exceptional circumstances, when history demands it, exceptional personalities emerge, people with an acute sense of what the times demand. When things are quiet, second-raters take up the job. That is why the 'founders' of Europe have no hope of one day being considered in the same light as Washington, Madison and Franklin. That is also why, from the beginning, the European Union has been so marked by bureaucracy and run by unelected 'experts.' These two factors help explain what is called the 'democratic deficit' of the union: the absence of a separation of powers, the weak Parliament and an inaccessible judiciary whose final role hasn't even been decided yet. The Constitution does not offer any solutions for these problems, aside from minor alterations that don't deal with the underlying causes. The text, which has as many exceptions as rules, isn't written for the ordinary citizen, but for the bureaucrat. Even its equivalent of the Bill of Rights, presented as a great democratic advance, raises serious problems, to such a point that the national governments have had to introduce numerous safeguards to limit its effects. The question that Europeans face today is whether a united Europe is more important than these democratic considerations. Some countries have said yes by approving the Constitution; in others, like France, opposition has been running strong. Certainly, factors having little to do with the Constitution have contributed to public hostility in this country, like the unpopularity of the government and the troubled economy. The European message is also muddled. For some, the union has not kept its promises, notably with the single currency, which was presented as a miracle remedy for economic problems. In addition, the union is founded on a contradiction (protecting itself from globalization while preaching the opening of markets and frontiers); there is also the uncertainty about integrating the new members from Eastern Europe and, eventually, Turkey. So the French, understandably, regard the Constitution with distrust. Now, the French may have many defects, but they are also an old political people who have seen many constitutions come and go. It's an error to explain their reluctance simply as their traditional scorn, or worse, as a refusal of the idea of Europe. They are expressing a genuine unease that is founded in a Constitution whose flaws are admitted even by its supporters. By voting no, the French will not topple Europe - the union will continue under its current rules - but they may provide the impetus for a Constitution that would be truly democratic and a truly historic document. Vincent Tournier is a professor at the Institute of Political Studies in Grenoble. This article was translated by The Times from the French.

Subject: The Social Safety Net
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 10:59:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/27/opinion/l27krugman.html The Social Safety Net To the Editor: Americans who work hard and play by the rules are having the rug pulled out from under them ('America Wants Security,' by Paul Krugman, column, May 23). Our social safety networks have radically changed; family members have moved all over the map for opportunities, making it difficult to be there for one another when times are tough. The concepts of career, family and community have changed radically, and the genie won't be going back into the bottle. That is why Democrats need to take every opportunity to articulate plans and sponsor policies to strengthen the safety net, instead of being complicit in weakening it. Wendy Beck San Francisco, May 24, 2005

Subject: U.S. Softens Its Warning to Beijing
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 10:46:01 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/27/business/worldbusiness/27yuan.html U.S. Softens Its Warning to Beijing By EDMUND L. ANDREWS WASHINGTON - Even as it publicly presses China to let its currency rise in value, the Bush administration has quietly softened a crucial demand. In a calculated shift, administration officials have stopped demanding that China let its currency, the yuan, float freely against other major currencies. Instead, American officials are telling Chinese leaders that they can keep their policy of a fixed exchange rate - at least for now - if they increase the value of the yuan by 10 to 15 percent. The policy switch reflects a growing realization that Beijing is simply not going to let its currency soar, which would make its exports more expensive and could disrupt China's troubled banking system. But the switch also highlights the administration's limited leverage over China. Having failed to budge Chinese leaders with polite financial diplomacy, administration officials are struggling to find ways to apply pressure without resorting to import barriers. 'I don't think it is in our interest or in their interest in going immediately to a full float,' Treasury Secretary John W. Snow said at a hearing on Thursday at the Senate Banking Committee. 'I see them as on a path to a full float.' Mr. Snow refused to say how much he wanted China to revalue the yuan. But people close to the administration said it was privately demanding an immediate increase of 10 to 15 percent. So far, Chinese officials have shown little inclination to go even that far. The People's Bank of China, in an annual report, said this week that it planned to keep its currency stable at a 'reasonable and well-balanced level,' according to The China Daily. Antagonism toward China and its trade surplus with the United States, which reached $162 billion last year and is still rising, has intensified in Congress recently. On Thursday, Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee sharply criticized Mr. Snow for being too easy on China. Senator Paul S. Sarbanes, Democrat of Maryland, warned Mr. Snow that Chinese officials appeared to be suggesting a very small revaluation of 3 to 5 percent - 'preposterous figures,' Mr. Sarbanes said. Senator Elizabeth Dole, Republican of North Carolina, told Mr. Snow she was 'frankly astounded' that the Treasury Department declined to accuse China of currency manipulation in its report last week on foreign exchange practices. Senator Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama and chairman of the banking committee, said the Treasury Department had 'punted' on the issue by saying that China's foreign exchange policies did not meet the 'technical' definition of currency manipulation. China has kept the value of the yuan at a fixed exchange rate of 8.3 to the dollar for more than 10 years, despite a soaring trade surplus with the United States that would normally lift the value of its currency. Many analysts estimate that the yuan is undervalued by more than 25 percent, which makes Chinese exports to the United States cheaper than they would be otherwise. To keep the yuan from rising in value, the Chinese government has bought large volumes of Treasury bonds and other dollar-denominated securities. Last year, it added $215 billion to its foreign reserves, which reached $647 billion, according to the International Monetary Fund. For two years, Mr. Snow and his deputies have been trying without success to persuade China to adopt flexible exchange rates. Though they have hedged their demands in public, administration officials have urged Chinese officials in private to let their currency float freely. Some experts have argued that Mr. Snow's seemingly tough stance was a mistake, because it was hopelessly unrealistic and might cause financial shocks to the Chinese banking system. 'This is not an administration that is comfortable relying on market signals,' said Morris Goldstein, a senior economist at the Institute for International Economics in Washington, referring to the Chinese government. Even if China did announce a floating exchange rate, he added, it would continue to intervene heavily in currency markets to keep the yuan from rising too much. By contrast, he said, a big upward revaluation would be a 'large down payment' that moved China's currency closer to what it would be in a free market. Mr. Snow adopted a new position last week, when he said it had been a 'misconception' that the United States was calling on China to adopt floating exchange rates immediately. 'What we are calling for is an intermediate step that reflects underlying market conditions and allows for a smooth transition - when appropriate - to a full float,' Mr. Snow said on May 17. That was the first time Mr. Snow had publicly mentioned the possibility of 'intermediate' steps and the first time he had explicitly denied that the United States was demanding a floating exchange rate for China. Tony Fratto, a spokesman for Mr. Snow, said the softer line was a mere refinement. 'We've been pretty disciplined and precise in talking about flexibility,' Mr. Fratto said. 'We've almost never talked about a float.' But industry lobbyists and policy experts said the shift was significant. 'They've come around to where we've been all along,' said Frank Vargo, vice president for international economics at the National Association of Manufacturers, which has been demanding that China revalue its currency for years. But Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York and a critic of the administration's dealings with China, said Mr. Snow should push for more. 'China has to let their currency float,' he said. 'The administration has now stepped into the batter's box. Now you need to swing at the pitch.'

Subject: Hedge Fund and Hedge Fund Salaries
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 10:35:38 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/27/business/27hedge.html Hedge Funds Are Stumbling but Manager Salaries Aren't By RIVA D. ATLAS At hedge funds, the rich just keep getting richer. Across Wall Street, fees for businesses from trading stocks to investing in mutual funds have been falling. But at hedge funds, those exclusive investment partnerships for the wealthy and institutions like pension funds, fees have stayed dizzyingly high, even as billions of dollars have poured into the industry and performance, on average, has faltered. Last year, the top-paid hedge fund manager, Edward S. Lampert of ESL Investments, earned $1 billion, according to a survey to be released today by Alpha, a magazine published by Institutional Investor that follows hedge funds. That is the highest sum in the four years the magazine has been tracking these managers' incomes. The average hedge fund manager on Institutional Investor's list of the top 25 earners made $251 million in 2004, up from nearly $136 million three years earlier. The secret to the wealth of hedge fund managers is how they get paid. Instead of receiving a fixed percentage of the funds they manage, as mutual fund managers do, hedge fund managers generally make '1 and 20' - 1 percent of assets under management and 20 percent of profits. That means that a $1 billion hedge fund manager earns $10 million just for opening the doors, and a lot more if his fund performs well. Investors are willing to pay more for these managers' talents because, at a time when stocks are doing poorly and yields on short-term Treasury securities are low, hedge funds hold out the hope of a better return. This promise has become so seductive that the top hedge fund managers can basically name their price. 'You don't mind paying higher fees if you are getting rewarded properly,' said Michael Strauss, chief economist for Commonfund, which invests on behalf of foundations and endowments. Steven A. Cohen of SAC Capital Advisors, for example, takes as much as 50 percent of all profits his hedge funds earn, netting him $450 million last year, according to Institutional Investor. Even after this big cut, his funds still returned around 23 percent, not bad in a year when the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 8.99 percent. Another manager on the list, Kenneth C. Griffin, has a novel twist on the fees he charges. His firm, Citadel Investment, which managed some $11 billion at year-end and has close to 1,000 employees - large for a hedge fund - does not charge a fixed fee for expenses. Instead, Mr. Griffin bills investors annually for whatever it cost to run the fund that year, a figure that fluctuates, but has been as high as 6 percent of assets, according to investors. Last year, Mr. Griffin's largest fund returned 9.87 percent, far below its compound average annual return of 26 percent. Spokesmen for Mr. Cohen and Mr. Griffin declined to comment. Still, some longtime investors in hedge funds worry that the steep compensation may make managers like Mr. Griffin less motivated to perform. Already, overall performance of hedge funds is faltering. Through April, hedge funds were down 0.7 percent, according to an index by Hedge Fund Research, a data firm. That is better than the S.&. P. 500, which was down about 4 percent in the period. But hedge fund investors are bracing for further losses for the month of May, after some complex derivatives trades went against a number of fund managers. 'When managers were earning double-digit returns, high expenses did not matter as much,' said Antoine Bernheim, publisher of the U.S. Offshore Funds Directory. 'But when you are in a low single-digit return environment, investors can end up breaking even or losing money. This is not a sustainable situation.' Somehow, though, hedge fund managers continue to attract huge sums under ever richer terms. Investors were clamoring to get into Eton Park, the $3 billion hedge fund started last November by Eric Mindich, a former Goldman Sachs executive. Investors in the new fund agreed not to withdraw any of their money for as long as three and a half years. Another recent start-up, by the financier Carl C. Icahn, charges a 2.5 percent fee for expenses and 25 percent of the profits. Many of the 25 managers on the Institutional Investor list of top earners had outstanding returns. Mr. Lampert's estimated $1 billion profit, for example, came after returning some 69 percent to his investors, who benefited from the spectacular rise in the price of Kmart, the discount retailer that Mr. Lampert has merged with Sears, Roebuck. The second-best performer on the list, James H. Simons of Renaissance Technologies, made $670 million after posting a 24.9 percent return last year, even after deducting his 5 percent management fee and 44 percent cut of the profits. A spokesman for Mr. Lampert declined comment; executives at Renaissance did not return calls. But other celebrated managers had disappointing results, yet continued to earn hundreds of millions. Last year, George Soros made $305 million, even as his Quantum Endowment Fund rose just 4.6 percent. Mr. Soros's large earnings reflects the fact that much of the money managed by his firm now represents his own capital. Outside investors pulled money from Soros Fund Management in recent years, after Mr. Soros announced that he would be investing more conservatively. His goal is to earn enough to support his charitable efforts, rather than to make big, risky bets like his famous multibillion-dollar gamble against the British pound in 1992. Mr. Soros is not the only manager aiming for lower, less volatile results. Much of the vast sums flowing into hedge funds these days comes from pension funds and other institutions, which prize predictable performance over outsize returns. The average pension fund is looking to make just 8 percent, after deducting fees, on its hedge fund investments, according to a recent study by the Bank of New York and Casey, Quirk & Associates, a consulting firm. That is a far cry from the returns of more than 25 percent generated by celebrated managers like Mr. Soros and Michael Steinhardt at their peaks. Now that the performance bar has been lowered, there is less incentive for managers to make more aggressive bets, consultants said, especially when they can still charge the same steep fees they did in the past. Investors in hedge funds say they are resigned to paying dearly for top hedge fund talent. 'It's the law of supply and demand,' said William Lawrence, chief executive of Meridian Capital Partners, which manages portfolios of hedge funds. 'Over time, if the fees are not borne out by performance, the market will react.'

Subject: Hedge Fund Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 09:56:38 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is no question in my mind but that a lot of hedge fund money will turn out to have been foolish money, though I can cite otherwise. When a part of a market grows large enough to move the market, there is reason to expect returns to match index returns minus the cost of investment and hedge funds are costly critters.

Subject: Utilities and Treasuries
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 09:54:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsVIPERByName Perfect. I can buy the 10yr Treasury note at a 4.1% yield or the Vanguard Utilities Index with a dividend of 3.41% and hold for 10 years. What do I do? The dividend is taxed at 15%, while the Treasury is taxed at my moarginal rate. So what if I am an institution, however conservative? There is no choice :)

Subject: European Integration
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 05:53:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The likely rejection of the European Constitution will be an interesting test for Europe and for us. I hope for an increasingly united Europe, and have no sense of whether this will prove a serious set-back.

Subject: Re: European Integration
From: Setanta
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 09:55:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Oops, made a little boo-boo...heres what should have been posted! As a citizen of the aforementioned Union I agree with your comments Terri. I think the only way to prevent another European war, not to mention solve the border squabble in the Northern Ireland, is through an increasingly federal union of European states. I work with Polish, Spanish, Germans, Italians, English and Welsh and truly feel an affinity with them as do they with us. we are more than cousins, we feel as if we are part of a greater thing than just our nations. i am european first and irish second. i feel at home in any of the EU countries i visit or holiday in, my EU symbol on my passport and citizenship affords me the same treatment in those countries as their own citizens have. for me, this union is more than currency union or customs union. it always has and always will be political more than economic despite the nomenclature (Coal & Steel Pact, European Economic Commission etc.) i hope that people can see the Great Experiment for what it is...the historic joining of some of the world oldest states who have warred amongst eachother each century since time immorial ( for all you history buffs out there - officially the period of history preceding Richard Plantagenet or King Richard the Lionheart of Robin Hood fame). I hope the nationalists in each country (especially the UK) realise that national pride is healthy but it shouldn't interfere with the development of europe. indeed the two are not incompatible, i am fiercely proud of my nation, its sons and daughters, and its achievements, but that does not take away from my affinity with europeans and all things european. regardless of the vote in france this weekend, the EU will trundle on. it is too great and important for any one person, group or party to dismantle (Kilroy Silk was elected to the European Parliament on the promise that he would wreck it from within, unfortunately this went down well with English voters but fortunately he only lasted in the parliament for 8 months!) I am confident it will survive a rejection by the French. In fact, hopefully we can get a constitution worthy of our continent should they be forced to redraft it. its a little bulky and is a very trying read.

Subject: Re: European Integration
From: Terri
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 11:00:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
A thoroughly cheering statment :)

Subject: Re: European Integration
From: Setanta
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 09:53:35 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:

Subject: Flexible Markets
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 05:48:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
If sizeable hedge fund losses have had so little evident effect on stock and bond markets, I am most pleased. I have been as pleased with the performance of the Vanguard Utility Index, which appears to tell us that low long term interest rates really are justified and that energy cost increases are being well handled. Economic and market flexibility should well please us.

Subject: Request to Bobby
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 05:38:46 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Dear Bobby, thank you always for all you do. Could you possibly leave about 50 to 100 messages on the board when you clean? This will make current thoughts easier to follow. Whatever you think best of course will be lovely. Please know how much you are appreciated.

Subject: Re: Request to Bobby
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 05:40:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Fifty messages will leave a full page to refer to.

Subject: Hedge Fund Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 05:31:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The Financial Times considers there have been massive hedge fund losses this year, but I find the corporate bond market almost completely settled, with a slight ripple perhaps still playing out in the prices of better quality high yield bonds. The slight effect of hedge fund losses on the markets in general pleases me considerably.

Subject: Re: Hedge Fund Returns
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, May 27, 2005 at 05:34:01 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We should watch the Vanguard Utility Index for anticipating interest rate changes. I find the performance of utilities quite pleasing.

Subject: Utility Companies
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 22:20:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
By the way, the strength of utility stocks here and in Europe may give us a sense that either long term interest rates are really expected to stay low for quite some time or that the economics of utility companies is changing in a fundamental way. I have been paying attention to regulated utilities for several years now and the economics grows more interesting.

Subject: Bond Fund Protection
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 22:02:45 (EDT)
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This has been a day of surprises, so some thoughts must wait, but we need to remember that bond funds for a portion of a portfolio can be wonderful havens of safety with decent returns. The Vanguard GNMA Bond Fund as an example I often use has a duration of 2.8 years and a yield of 4.54%. The bonds are completely guaranteed by the Treasury, so defult is never a possibility. A sudden rise of 1 percentage point in interest rates would cause the price of the fund to fall about 2.8% while the yield gradually climbed. There are Vanguard bond funds just as secure with lower safer durations. The point is that a shock to the economy can be insulated in a portfolio with a conservative bond fund holding. We may use no bond fund, but we should know how if necessary.

Subject: Thoughts on Interest Rates
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 17:12:41 (EDT)
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The people who worry me are those who try to tell us they know just what is happening in the bond market and criticize monetary policy from this perspective. This is the most unusual bond market I have found and has been for a while. The Federal Reserve has raised short term rates 8 times, but long term interest rates began to fall shortly after the initial Fed increase and have stayed remarkably low. A traditional bond analyst would have to conclude that investors are convinced long term inflation will be completely under control, and that possibly economic growth will soon falter causing the Fed to reverse policy. But, economic growth shows no signs of faltering and inflation has shown a modest tendency to increase. The very confusing feel of the bond market leads me to think the Fed has acted properly these last years, keeping the mandate to spur employment when possible ever in view. There may be pressures building expecially in the housing market, but I would not wish to have the Fed accelerate interest rate increases. So we act with caution, hope the bond market really is healthy, and learn.

Subject: ?
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 14:56:16 (EDT)
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Whether tariffs are instituted or the yuan goes on a currency basket float or a total float how will it affect the bond market? From Associated Press: Snow: China Must Change Currency Policies Thursday May 26, 1:16 pm ET By Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer John Snow Says China Must 'Move Without Delay' to Change Currency Practices WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration said Thursday that China should 'move without delay' to change currency practices that American manufacturers blame for soaring trade deficits and the loss of U.S. jobs. Facing heavy criticism for the failure to cite China last week as a currency manipulator, Treasury Secretary John Snow told the Senate Banking Committee that the administration's nearly two-year effort to pressure China to stop pegging its currency tightly to the U.S. dollar was showing results. He said the Chinese had now taken all the steps needed to prepare their financial system for the move to a more flexible currency. 'China is now ready and should move without delay in a manner and magnitude that is sufficiently reflective of underlying market conditions,' Snow said in his prepared testimony. Snow repeated a warning made in last week's currency report: China could be cited by the United States as a currency manipulator, a process that could lead to economic sanctions, if it does not act soon. 'If current trends continue without substantial alteration, China's policies will likely meet the technical requirements of the statute for designation,' Snow said. Both Democrats and Republicans on the committee expressed exasperation with China's current policies and pressed Snow to define what China would need to do to avoid being branded as a currency manipulator when the next Treasury report is due in October. 'Many of us see this as approaching a crisis status,' Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., told Snow. Sarbanes said he was disturbed by reports that China might end up allowing its currency to rise by as little as 5 percent in value against the dollar. That would do little to make a dent in America's huge trade deficit with China, he said. Snow refused to say how much of a revaluation of China's currency against the U.S. dollar would be sufficient, but he said the adjustment would have to be large enough that it would 'significantly close the gap' between the current value of the yuan and a 'more appropriate value' against the dollar. The administration's tougher approach to China is coming at a time when it is scrambling for votes to win congressional passage of a new free trade agreement with Latin American nations -- the Central American Free Trade Agreement. The administration has moved to re-impose quotas on a flood of Chinese imports of clothing and textile into the United States in response to pleas from U.S. manufacturers and has also increased pressure on China to halt rampant piracy of U.S. movies, music and computer software. Snow told senators that he believed that China would move to introduce more flexibility before the next Treasury report is due in October. 'I fully anticipate that before our return, before we conclude the next report, we will have seen the sort of action that we are calling for,' Snow said. However, the Chinese so far have refused to set a timetable for when they might move to a more flexible currency system. The administration has faced heavy criticism for its failure to cite China last week in a report that it is required to present to Congress twice a year. The pressure to designate China has grown as America's trade deficit with that country has soared to all-time highs, hitting $162 billion last year out of a total U.S. trade deficit of $617 billion, also a record. American manufacturers contend that China's decade-long practice of keeping its currency valued at around 8.28 yuan to the dollar, has resulted in the Chinese currency being undervalued by as much as 40 percent, giving the Chinese a huge competitive advantage. A cheaper Chinese currency makes Chinese goods cheaper for American consumers and U.S. products more expensive for Chinese consumers. Legislation has been introduced in both the Senate and the House to impose across-the-board tariffs of 27.5 percent if China does not act to change its currency policies. Snow made clear in his testimony that the administration was not insisting that China move immediately to a currency whose value was set totally in global currency markets, a practice known as floating. 'We are not calling for an immediate full float with fully liberalized capital markets. This would be a mistake at this time -- China's banking sector is not prepared,' Snow said. 'What we are calling for is an intermediate step that reflects underlying market conditions and allows for a smooth transition -- when appropriate -- to a full float.' Outside experts have said China could stop linking its currency only to the U.S. dollar and instead peg it to several currencies or it could allow the yuan to trade in a band rather than keeping it pegged at 8.28 yuan for each dollar. That would allow the yuan to be revalued higher.

Subject: 15 Years on the Bottom Rung
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 11:50:45 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/26/national/class/MEXICANS-FINAL.html?pagewanted=all 15 Years on the Bottom Rung By ANTHONY DePALMA In the dark before dawn, when Madison Avenue was all but deserted and its pricey boutiques were still locked up tight, several Mexicans slipped quietly into 3 Guys, a restaurant that the Zagat guide once called 'the most expensive coffee shop in New York.' For the next 10 hours they would fry eggs, grill burgers, pour coffee and wash dishes for a stream of customers from the Upper East Side of Manhattan. By 7:35 a.m., Eliot Spitzer, attorney general of New York, was holding a power breakfast back near the polished granite counter. In the same burgundy booth a few hours later, Michael A. Wiener, co-founder of the multibillion-dollar Infinity Broadcasting, grabbed a bite with his wife, Zena. Just the day before, Uma Thurman slipped in for a quiet lunch with her children, but the paparazzi found her and she left. More Mexicans filed in to begin their shifts throughout the morning, and by the time John Zannikos, one of the restaurant's three Greek owners, drove in from the North Jersey suburbs to work the lunch crowd, Madison Avenue was buzzing. So was 3 Guys. 'You got to wait a little bit,' Mr. Zannikos said to a pride of elegant women who had spent the morning at the Whitney Museum of American Art, across Madison Avenue at 75th Street. For an illiterate immigrant who came to New York years ago with nothing but $100 in his pocket and a willingness to work etched on his heart, could any words have been sweeter to say? With its wealthy clientele, middle-class owners and low-income work force, 3 Guys is a template of the class divisions in America. But it is also the setting for two starkly different tales about breaching those divides. The familiar story is Mr. Zannikos's. For him, the restaurant - don't dare call it a diner - with its $20 salads and elegant décor represents the American promise of upward mobility, one that has been fulfilled countless times for generations of hard-working immigrants. But for Juan Manuel Peralta, a 34-year-old illegal immigrant who worked there for five years until he was fired last May, and for many of the other illegal Mexican immigrants in the back, restaurant work today is more like a dead end. They are finding the American dream of moving up far more elusive than it was for Mr. Zannikos. Despite his efforts to help them, they risk becoming stuck in a permanent underclass of the poor, the unskilled and the uneducated. That is not to suggest that the nearly five million Mexicans who, like Mr. Peralta, are living in the United States illegally will never emerge from the shadows. Many have, and undoubtedly many more will. But the sheer size of the influx - over 400,000 a year, with no end in sight - creates a problem all its own. It means there is an ever-growing pool of interchangeable workers, many of them shunting from one low-paying job to another. If one moves on, another one - or maybe two or three - is there to take his place. Although Mr. Peralta arrived in New York almost 40 years after Mr. Zannikos, the two share a remarkably similar beginning. They came at the same age to the same section of New York City, without legal papers or more than a few words of English. Each dreamed of a better life. But monumental changes in the economy and in attitudes toward immigrants have made it far less likely that Mr. Peralta and his children will experience the same upward mobility as Mr. Zannikos and his family. Of course, there is a chance that Mr. Peralta may yet take his place among the Mexican-Americans who have succeeded here. He realizes that he will probably not do as well as the few who have risen to high office or who were able to buy the vineyards where their grandfathers once picked grapes. But he still dreams that his children will someday join the millions who have lost their accents, gotten good educations and firmly achieved the American dream. Political scientists are divided over whether the 25 million people of Mexican ancestry in the United States represent an exception to the classic immigrant success story. Some, like John H. Mollenkopf at the City University of New York, are convinced that Mexicans will eventually do as well as the Greeks, Italians and other Europeans of the last century who were usually well assimilated after two or three generations. Others, including Mexican-Americans like Rodolfo O. de la Garza, a professor at Columbia, have done studies showing that Mexican-Americans face so many obstacles that even the fourth generation trails other Americans in education, home ownership and household income. The situation is even worse for the millions more who have illegally entered the United States since 1990. Spread out in scores of cities far beyond the Southwest, they find jobs plentiful but advancement difficult. President Vicente Fox of Mexico was forced to apologize this month for declaring publicly what many Mexicans say they feel, that the illegal immigrants 'are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States.' Resentment and race subtly stand in their way, as does a lingering attachment to Mexico, which is so close that many immigrants do not put down deep roots here. They say they plan to stay only long enough to make some money and then go back home. Few ever do. But the biggest obstacle is their illegal status. With few routes open to become legal, they remain, like Mr. Peralta, without rights, without security and without a clear path to a better future. 'It's worrisome,' said Richard Alba, a sociologist at the State University of New York, Albany, who studies the assimilation and class mobility of contemporary immigrants, 'and I don't see much reason to believe this will change.' Little has changed for Mr. Peralta, a cook who has worked at menial jobs in the United States for the last 15 years. Though he makes more than he ever dreamed of in Mexico, his life is anything but middle class and setbacks are routine. Still, he has not given up hope. Querer es poder, he sometimes says: Want something badly enough and you will get it. But desire may not be enough anymore. That is what concerns Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico's consul general in New York. Mr. Sarukhan recently took an urgent call from New York's police commissioner about an increase in gang activity among young Mexican men, a sign that they were moving into the underside of American life. Of all immigrants in New York City, officials say, Mexicans are the poorest, least educated and least likely to speak English. The failure or success of this generation of Mexicans in the United States will determine the place that Mexicans will hold here in years to come, Mr. Sarukhan said, and the outlook is not encouraging. 'They will be better off than they could ever have been in Mexico,' he said, 'but I don't think that's going to be enough to prevent them from becoming an underclass in New York.' Different Results There is a break in the middle of the day at 3 Guys, after the lunchtime limousines leave and before the private schools let out. That was when Mr. Zannikos asked the Mexican cook who replaced Mr. Peralta to prepare some lunch for him. Then Mr. Zannikos carried the chicken breast on pita to the last table in the restaurant. 'My life story is a good story, a lot of success,' he said, his accent still heavy. He was just a teenager when he left the Greek island of Chios, a few miles off the coast of Turkey. World War II had just ended, and Greece was in ruins. 'There was only rich and poor, that's it,' Mr. Zannikos said. 'There was no middle class like you have here.' He is 70 now, with short gray hair and soft eyes that can water at a mention of the past. Because of the war, he said, he never got past the second grade, never learned to read or write. He signed on as a merchant seaman, and in 1953, when he was 19, his ship docked at Norfolk, Va. He went ashore one Saturday with no intention of ever returning to Greece. He left behind everything, including his travel documents. All he had in his pockets was $100 and the address of his mother's cousin in the Jackson Heights-Corona section of Queens. Almost four decades later, Mr. Peralta underwent a similar rite of passage out of Mexico. He had finished the eighth grade in the poor southern state of Guerrero and saw nothing in his future there but fixing flat tires. His father, Inocencio, had once dreamed of going to the United States, but never had the money. In 1990, he borrowed enough to give his first-born son a chance. Mr. Peralta was 19 when he boarded a smoky bus that carried him through the deserted hills of Guerrero and kept going until it reached the edge of Mexico. With eight other Mexicans he did not know, he crawled through a sewer tunnel that started in Tijuana and ended on the other side of the border, in what Mexicans call el Norte. He had carried no documents, no photographs and no money, except what his father gave him to pay his shifty guide and to buy an airline ticket to New York. Deep in a pocket was the address of an uncle in the same section of Queens where Mr. Zannikos had gotten his start. By 1990, the area had gone from largely Greek to mostly Latino. Starting over in the same working-class neighborhood, Mr. Peralta and Mr. Zannikos quickly learned that New York was full of opportunities and obstacles, often in equal measure. On his first day there, Mr. Zannikos, scared and feeling lost, found the building he was looking for, but his mother's cousin had moved. He had no idea what to do until a Greek man passed by. Walk five blocks to the Deluxe Diner, the man said. He did. The diner was full of Greek housepainters, including one who knew Mr. Zannikos's father. On the spot, they offered him a job painting closets, where his mistakes would be hidden. He painted until the weather turned cold. Another Greek hired him as a dishwasher at his coffee shop in the Bronx. It was not easy, but Mr. Zannikos worked his way up to short-order cook, learning English as he went along. In 1956, immigration officials raided the coffee shop. He was deported, but after a short while he managed to sneak back into the country. Three years later he married a Puerto Rican from the Bronx. The marriage lasted only a year, but it put him on the road to becoming a citizen. Now he could buy his own restaurant, a greasy spoon in the South Bronx that catered to a late-night clientele of prostitutes and undercover police officers. Since then, he has bought and sold more than a dozen New York diners, but none have been more successful than the original 3 Guys, which opened in 1978. He and his partners own two other restaurants with the same name farther up Madison Avenue, but they have never replicated the high-end appeal of the original. 'When employees come in I teach them, 'Hey, this is a different neighborhood,' ' Mr. Zannikos said. What may be standard in some other diners is not tolerated here. There are no Greek flags or tourism posters. There is no television or twirling tower of cakes with cream pompadours. Waiters are forbidden to chew gum. No customer is ever called 'Honey.' 'They know their place and I know my place,' Mr. Zannikos said of his customers. 'It's as simple as that.' His place in society now is a far cry from his days in the Bronx. He and his second wife, June, live in Wyckoff, a New Jersey suburb where he pampers fig trees and dutifully looks after a bird feeder shaped like the Parthenon. They own a condominium in Florida. His three children all went far beyond his second-grade education, finishing high school or attending college. They have all done well, as has Mr. Zannikos, who says he makes about $130,000 a year. He says he is not sensitive to class distinctions, but he admits he was bothered when some people mistook him for the caterer at fund-raising dinners for the local Greek church he helped build. All in all, he thinks immigrants today have a better chance of moving up the class ladder than he did 50 years ago. 'At that time, no bank would give us any money, but today they give you credit cards in the mail,' he said. 'New York still gives you more opportunity that any other place. If you want to do things, you will.' He says he has done well, and he is content with his station in life. 'I'm in the middle and I'm happy.' A Divisive Issue Mr. Peralta cannot guess what class Mr. Zannikos belongs to. But he is certain that it is much tougher for an immigrant to get ahead today than 50 years ago. And he has no doubt about his own class. 'La pobreza,' he says. 'Poverty.' It was not what he expected when he boarded the bus to the border, but it did not take long for him to realize that success in the United States required more than hard work. 'A lot of it has to do with luck,' he said during a lunch break on a stoop around the corner from the Queens diner where he went to work after 3 Guys. 'People come here, and in no more than a year or two they can buy their own house and have a car,' Mr. Peralta said. 'Me, I've been here 15 years, and if I die tomorrow, there wouldn't even be enough money to bury me.' In 1990, Mr. Peralta was in the vanguard of Mexican immigrants who bypassed the traditional barrios in border states to work in far-flung cities like Denver and New York. The 2000 census counted 186,872 Mexicans in New York, triple the 1990 figure, and there are undoubtedly many more today. The Mexican consulate, which serves the metropolitan region, has issued more than 500,000 ID cards just since 2001. Fifty years ago, illegal immigration was a minor problem. Now it is a divisive national issue, pitting those who welcome cheap labor against those with concerns about border security and the cost of providing social services. Though newly arrived Mexicans often work in industries that rely on cheap labor, like restaurants and construction, they rarely organize. Most are desperate to stay out of sight. Mr. Peralta hooked up with his uncle the morning he arrived in New York. He did not work for weeks until the bakery where the uncle worked had an opening, a part-time job making muffins. He took it, though he didn't know muffins from crumb cake. When he saw that he would not make enough to repay his father, he took a second job making night deliveries for a Manhattan diner. By the end of his first day he was so lost he had to spend all his tip money on a cab ride home. He quit the diner, but working there even briefly opened his eyes to how easy it could be to make money in New York. Diners were everywhere, and so were jobs making deliveries, washing dishes or busing tables. In six months, Mr. Peralta had paid back the money his father gave him. He bounced from job to job and in 1995, eager to show off his newfound success, he went back to Mexico with his pockets full of money, and he married. He was 25 then, the same age at which Mr. Zannikos married. But the similarities end there. When Mr. Zannikos jumped ship, he left Greece behind for good. Though he himself had no documents, the compatriots he encountered on his first days were here legally, like most other Greek immigrants, and could help him. Greeks had never come to the United States in large numbers - the 2000 census counted only 29,805 New Yorkers born in Greece - but they tended to settle in just a few areas, like the Astoria section of Queens, which became cohesive communities ready to help new arrivals. Mr. Peralta, like many other Mexicans, is trying to make it on his own and has never severed his emotional or financial ties to home. After five years in New York's Latino community, he spoke little English and owned little more than the clothes on his back. He decided to return to Huamuxtitlán (pronounced wa-moosh-teet-LAHN), the dusty village beneath a flat-topped mountain where he was born. 'People thought that since I was coming back from el Norte, I would be so rich that I could spread money around,' he said. Still, he felt privileged: his New York wages dwarfed the $1,000 a year he might have made in Mexico. He met a shy, pretty girl named Matilde in Huamuxtitlán, married her and returned with her to New York, again illegally, all in a matter of weeks. Their first child was born in 1996. Mr. Peralta soon found that supporting a family made it harder to save money. Then, in 1999, he got the job at 3 Guys. 'Barba Yanni helped me learn how to prepare things the way customers like them,' Mr. Peralta said, referring to Mr. Zannikos with a Greek title of respect that means Uncle John. The restaurant became his school. He learned how to sauté a fish so that it looked like a work of art. The three partners lent him money and said they would help him get immigration documents. The pay was good. But there were tensions with the other workers. Instead of hanging their orders on a rack, the waiters shouted them out, in Greek, Spanish and a kind of fractured English. Sometimes Mr. Peralta did not understand, and they argued. Soon he was known as a hothead. Still, he worked hard, and every night he returned to his growing family. Matilde, now 27, cleaned houses until the second child, Heidi, was born three years ago. Now she tries to sell Mary Kay products to other mothers at Public School 12, which their son, Antony, 8, attends. Most weeks, Mr. Peralta could make as much as $600. Over the course of a year that could come to over $30,000, enough to approach the lower middle class. But the life he leads is far from that and uncertainty hovers over everything about his life, starting with his paycheck. To earn $600, he has to work at least 10 hours a day, six days a week, and that does not happen every week. Sometimes he is paid overtime for the extra hours, sometimes not. And, as he found out in May, he can be fired at any time and bring in nothing, not even unemployment, until he lands another job. In 2004, he made about $24,000. Because he is here illegally, Mr. Peralta can easily be exploited. He cannot file a complaint against his landlord for charging him $500 a month for a 9-foot-by-9-foot room in a Queens apartment that he shares with nine other Mexicans in three families who pay the remainder of the $2,000-a-month rent. All 13 share one bathroom, and the established pecking order means the Peraltas rarely get to use the kitchen. Eating out can be expensive. Because they were born in New York, Mr. Peralta's children are United States citizens, and their health care is generally covered by Medicaid. But he has to pay out of his pocket whenever he or his wife sees a doctor. And forget about going to the dentist. As many other Mexicans do, he wires money home, and it costs him $7 for every $100 he sends. When his uncle, his nephew and his sister asked him for money, he was expected to lend it. No one has paid him back. He has middle-class ornaments, like a cellphone and a DVD player, but no driver's license or Social Security card. He is the first to admit that he has vices that have held him back; nothing criminal, but he tends to lose his temper and there are nights when he likes to have a drink or two. His greatest weakness is instant lottery tickets, what he calls 'los scratch,' and he sheepishly confesses that he can squander as much as $75 a week on them. It is a way of preserving hope, he said. Once he won $100. He bought a blender. Years ago, he and Matilde were so confident they would make it in America that when their son was born they used the American spelling of his name, Anthony, figuring it would help pave his passage into the mainstream. But even that effort failed. 'Look at this,' his wife said one afternoon as she sat on the floor of their room near a picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Mr. Peralta sat on a small plastic stool in the doorway, listening. His mattress was stacked against the wall. A roll of toilet paper was stashed nearby because they dared not leave it in the shared bathroom for someone else to use. She took her pocketbook and pulled out a clear plastic case holding her son's baptismal certificate, on which his name is spelled with an 'H.' But then she unfolded his birth certificate, where the 'H' is missing. 'The teachers won't teach him to spell his name the right way until the certificate is legally changed,' she said. 'But how can we do that if we're not legal?' Progress, but Not Success An elevated subway train thundered overhead, making the afternoon light along Roosevelt Avenue blink like a failing fluorescent bulb. Mr. Peralta's daughter and son grabbed his fat hands as they ran some errands. He had just finished a 10-hour shift, eggs over easy and cheeseburgers since 5 a.m. It had been especially hard to stand the monotony that day. He kept thinking about what was going on in Mexico, where it was the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary. And, oh, what a feast there was - sweets and handmade tamales, a parade, even a bullfight. At night, fireworks, bursting loud and bright against the green folds of the mountains. Paid for, in part, by the money he sends home. But instead of partying, he was walking his children to the Arab supermarket on Roosevelt Avenue to buy packages of chicken and spare ribs, and hoping to get to use the kitchen. And though he knew better, he grabbed a package of pink and white marshmallows for the children. He needed to buy tortillas, too, but not there. A Korean convenience store a few blocks away sells La Maizteca tortillas, made in New York. The swirl of immigrants in Mr. Peralta's neighborhood is part of the fabric of New York, just as it was in 1953, when Mr. Zannikos arrived. But most immigrants then were Europeans, and though they spoke different languages, their Caucasian features helped them blend into New York's middle class. Experts remain divided over whether Mexicans can follow the same route. Samuel P. Huntington, a Harvard professor of government, takes the extreme view that Mexicans will not assimilate and that the separate culture they are developing threatens the United States. Most others believe that recent Mexican immigrants will eventually take their place in society, and perhaps someday muster political clout commensurate with their numbers, though significant impediments are slowing their progress. Francisco Rivera-Batiz, a Columbia University economics professor, says that prejudice remains a problem, that factory jobs have all but disappeared, and that there is a growing gap between the educational demands of the economy and the limited schooling that the newest Mexicans have when they arrive. But the biggest obstacle by far, and the one that separates newly arrived Mexicans from Greeks, Italians and most other immigrants - including earlier generations of Mexicans - is their illegal status. Professor Rivera-Batiz studied what happened to illegal Mexican immigrants who became legal after the last national amnesty in 1986. Within a few years, their incomes rose 20 percent and their English improved greatly. 'Legalization,' he said, 'helped them tremendously.' Although the Bush administration is again talking about legalizing some Mexicans with a guest worker program, there is opposition to another amnesty, and the number of Mexicans illegally living in the United States continues to soar. Desperate to get their papers any way they can, many turn to shady storefront legal offices. Like Mr. Peralta, they sign on to illusory schemes that cost hundreds of dollars but almost never produce the promised green cards. Until the 1980's, Mexican immigration was largely seasonal and mostly limited to agricultural workers. But then economic chaos in Mexico sent a flood of immigrants northward, many of them poorly educated farmers from the impoverished countryside. Tighter security on the border made it harder for Mexicans to move back and forth in the traditional way, so they tended to stay here, searching for low-paying unskilled jobs and concentrating in barrios where Spanish, constantly replenished, never loses its immediacy. 'Cuidado!' Mr. Peralta shouted when Antony carelessly stepped into Roosevelt Avenue without looking. Although the boy is taught in English at school, he rarely uses anything but Spanish at home. Even now, after 15 years in New York, Mr. Peralta speaks little English. He tried English classes once, but could not get his mind to accept the new sounds. So he dropped it, and has stuck with only Spanish, which he concedes is 'the language of busboys' in New York. But as long as he stays in his neighborhood, it is all he needs. It was late afternoon by the time Mr. Peralta and his children headed home. The run-down house, the overheated room, the stacked mattress and the hoarded toilet paper - all remind him how far he would have to go to achieve a success like Mr. Zannikos's. Still, he says, he has done far better than he could ever have done in Mexico. He realizes that the money he sends to his family there is not enough to satisfy his father, who built stairs for a second floor of his house made of concrete blocks in Huamuxtitlán, even though there is no second floor. He believes Manuel has made it big in New York and he is waiting for money from America to complete the upstairs. Manuel has never told him the truth about his life up north. He said his father's images of America came from another era. The older man does not know how tough it is to be a Mexican immigrant in the United States now, tougher than any young man who ever left Huamuxtitlán would admit. Everything built up over 15 years here can come apart as easily as an adobe house in an earthquake. And then it is time to start over, again. A Conflict Erupts It was the end of another busy lunch at 3 Guys in late spring 2003. Mr. Peralta made himself a turkey sandwich and took a seat at a rear table. The Mexican countermen, dishwashers and busboys also started their breaks, while the Greek waiters took care of the last few diners. It is not clear how the argument started. But a cross word passed between a Greek waiter and a Mexican busboy. Voices were raised. The waiter swung at the busboy, catching him behind the ear. Mr. Peralta froze. So did the other Mexicans. Even from the front of the restaurant, where he was watching the cash register, Mr. Zannikos realized something was wrong and rushed back to break it up. 'I stood between them, held one and pushed the other away,' he said. 'I told them: 'You don't do that here. Never do that here.' ' Mr. Zannikos said he did not care who started it. He ordered both the busboy and the waiter, a partner's nephew, to get out. But several Mexicans, including Mr. Peralta, said that they saw Mr. Zannikos grab the busboy by the head and that they believed he would have hit him if another Mexican had not stepped between them. That infuriated them because they felt he had sided with the Greek without knowing who was at fault. Mr. Zannikos said that was not true, but in the end it did not matter. The easygoing atmosphere at the restaurant changed. 'Everybody was a little cool,' Mr. Zannikos recalled. What he did not know then was that the Mexicans had reached out to the Restaurant Opportunities Center, a workers' rights group. Eventually six of them, including Mr. Peralta, cooperated with the group. He did so reluctantly, he said, because he was afraid that if the owners found out, they would no longer help him get his immigration papers. The labor group promised that the owners would never know. The owners saw it as an effort to shake them down, but for the Mexicans it became a class struggle pitting powerless workers against hard-hearted owners. Their grievances went beyond the scuffle. They complained that with just one exception, only Greeks became waiters at 3 Guys. They challenged the sole Mexican waiter, Salomon Paniagua, a former Mexican army officer who, everyone agreed, looked Greek, to stand with them. But on the day the labor group picketed the restaurant, Mr. Paniagua refused to put down his order pad. A handful of demonstrators carried signs on Madison Avenue for a short while before Mr. Zannikos and his partners reluctantly agreed to settle. Mr. Zannikos said he felt betrayed. 'When I see these guys, I see myself when I started, and I always try to help them,' he said. 'I didn't do anything wrong.' The busboy and the Mexican who intervened were paid several thousand dollars and the owners promised to promote a current Mexican employee to waiter within a month. But that did not end the turmoil. Fearing that the other Mexicans might try to get back at him, Mr. Paniagua decided to strike out on his own. After asking Mr. Zannikos for advice, he bought a one-third share of a Greek diner in Jamaica, Queens. He said he put it in his father's name because the older man had become a legal resident after the 1986 amnesty. After Mr. Paniagua left, 3 Guys went without a single Mexican waiter for 10 months, despite the terms of the settlement. In March, an eager Mexican busboy with a heavy accent who had worked there for four years got a chance to wear a waiter's tie. Mr. Peralta ended up having to leave 3 Guys around the same time as Mr. Paniagua. Mr. Zannikos's partners suspected he had sided with the labor group, he said, and started to criticize his work unfairly. Then they cut back his schedule to five days a week. After he hurt his ankle playing soccer, they told him to go home until he was better. When Mr. Peralta came back to work about two weeks later, he was fired. Mr. Zannikos confirms part of the account but says the firing had nothing to do with the scuffle or the ensuing dispute. 'If he was good, believe me, he wouldn't get fired,' he said of Mr. Peralta. Mr. Peralta shrugged when told what Mr. Zannikos said. 'I know my own work and I know what I can do,' he said. 'There are a lot of restaurants in New York, and a lot of workers.' When 3 Guys fired Mr. Peralta, another Mexican replaced him, just as Mr. Peralta replaced a Mexican at the Greek diner in Queens where he went to work next. This time, though, there was no Madison Avenue address, no elaborate menu of New Zealand mussels or designer mushrooms. In the Queens diner a bowl of soup with a buttered roll cost $2, all day. If he fried burgers and scraped fat off the big grill for 10 hours a day, six days a week, he might earn about as much as he did on Madison Avenue, at least for a week. His schedule kept changing. Sometimes he worked the lunch and dinner shift, and by the end of the night he was worn out, especially since he often found himself arguing with the Greek owner. But he did not look forward to going home. So after the night manager lowered the security gate, Mr. Peralta would wander the streets. One of those nights he stopped at a phone center off Roosevelt Avenue to call his mother. 'Everything's O.K.,' he told her. He asked how she had spent the last $100 he sent, and whether she needed anything else. There is always need in Huamuxtitlán. Still restless, he went to the Scorpion, a shot-and-beer joint open till 4 a.m. He sat at the long bar nursing vodkas with cranberry juice, glancing at the soccer match on TV and the busty Brazilian bartender who spoke only a little Spanish. When it was nearly 11 p.m., he called it a night. Back home, he quietly opened the door to his room. The lights were off, the television murmuring. His family was asleep in the bunk bed that the store had now threatened to repossess. Antony was curled up on the top, Matilde and Heidi cuddled in the bottom. Mr. Peralta moved the plastic stool out of the way and dropped his mattress to the floor. The children did not stir. His wife's eyes fluttered, but she said nothing. Mr. Peralta looked over his family, his home. 'This,' he said, 'is my life in New York.' Not the life he imagined, but his life. In early March, just after Heidi's third birthday, he quit his job at the Queens diner after yet another heated argument with the owner. In his mind, preserving his dignity is one of the few liberties he has left. 'I'll get another job,' he said while baby-sitting Heidi at home a few days later. The rent is already paid till the end of the month and he has friends, he said. People know him. To him, jobs are interchangeable - just as he is to the jobs. If he cannot find work as a grillman, he will bus tables. Or wash dishes. If not at one diner, then at another. 'It's all the same,' he said. It took about three weeks, but Mr. Peralta did find a new job as a grillman at another Greek diner in a different part of New York. His salary is roughly the same, the menu is roughly the same (one new item, Greek burritos, was a natural), and he sees his chance for a better future as being roughly the same as it has been since he got to America. A Long Day Closes It was now dark again outside 3 Guys. About 9 p.m. Mr. Zannikos asked his Mexican cook for a small salmon steak, a little rare. It had been another busy 10-hour day for him, but a good one. Receipts from the morning alone exceeded what he needed to take in every day just to cover the $23,000 a month rent. He finished the salmon quickly, left final instructions with the lone Greek waiter still on duty and said good night to everyone else. He put on his light tan corduroy jacket and the baseball cap he picked up in Florida. 'Night,' he said to the lone table of diners. Outside, as Mr. Zannikos walked slowly down Madison Avenue, a self-made man comfortable with his own hard-won success, the bulkhead doors in front of 3 Guys clanked open. Faint voices speaking Spanish came from below. A young Mexican who started his shift 10 hours earlier climbed out with a bag of garbage and heaved it onto the sidewalk. New Zealand mussel shells. Uneaten bits of portobello mushrooms. The fine grounds of decaf cappuccino. One black plastic bag after another came out until Madison Avenue in front of 3 Guys was piled high with trash. 'Hurry up!' the young man shouted to the other Mexicans. 'I want to go home, too.'

Subject: Looking for Relative Value
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 11:49:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Though economic growth was a healthy 3.5% for the first quarter, with inflation at only 2.2%, there are reasons to worry about the economy from the rapid rise in the price of housing to the government budget and trade deficits. So, in looking ahead there is reason for caution and a need to know what caution might be. Caution for Warren Buffett we have seen for several years is buying utility companies here and abroad. But, we are not Warren Buffett. We can choose to invest in Berkshire Hathaway or buy shares of the Vanguard Utility Index, but there is of course more in relative value and safety to be found.

Subject: Italy says ciao to la dolce vita...
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 05:59:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
...and is it the single currency at fault? Italy's economic woes are our woes, too, because of their effects on the currency and interest rates 'ECONOMIA in crisi!' ran the headline in the Corrierre della Serra. Even my non-existent Italian could follow that, if not the text underneath. But, sad sack that I am, even on holiday I could not resist looking at the numbers on the graphs. One wonders what the Italian is for 'Holy smoke!' Clothing production down 12pc, car production down 8pc, machinery down 16pc. This was the second successive quarter when output fell, so the Italian economy is technically in recession. Inside, the newspaper had a four-page special, doubtless full of weeping and gnashing of teeth. For an Irishman, it was like a visit to another planet, or at least to another time. But of course, Italy is not even a foreign country in the normal sense of the word. It is a fellow-member of the euro area with which we share a currency - and an interest rate. What I did not know until I returned was that these shocking figures coincided with the OECD annual review of the Italian economy. Italy's problems were then highlighted by the Economist magazine in a cover story entitled, 'The Real Sick Man of Europe'. Thanks to the euro, those problems are all our problems, because of their effects on the currency and interest rates, and because they illustrate the unresolved issue facing all euro members - how to live with a single currency when productivity, demand and inflation differ widely. Just a few months ago there were snorts of derision when Morgan Stanley analysts suggested the European Central Bank might end up cutting interest rates this year. The snorts would not be so loud now. The 'soft patch' which the eurozone economy suddenly hit at the end of last year has turned into something much swampier. After feebly approaching something like normal growth for the first time in four years last year, it now seems pretty certain that 2005 will be another below-par performance with the total eurozone economy lucky to expand by more than one per cent. The OECD's economists think the situation so serious that they called for an immediate cut in ECB interest rates. Their models say that, even if this were a whopping half-point drop to 1.5pc, economic growth would be only 1.2pc this year and still below potential at 1.9pc next year. The global soft patch also turned out softer and deeper than most expected. Oil prices are probably to blame. But, as the Italian statistics showed, the large eurozone economies are especially vulnerable because industrial production and exports have been the main source of growth. There is too little domestic demand to smooth the ups and downs of the global markets. But there are significant differences between the 'big three' of Germany, France and Italy, which between them account for 70pc of eurozone output (indeed, in statistical terms they are the eurozone). French domestic demand is not quite so sickly, and there was a good bounce in household spending last month. Germany's external competitiveness is better than that of the other two. Not enough attention has been paid to the remarkable way German companies have squeezed costs and increased productivity when faced with a rising euro and falling prices. German exporters remain singularly successful and able to take advantage of any fall in the currency or upturn in global markets. But then, they have plenty of experience at this kind of thing. The old deutschmark appreciated for most of its 50-year history and German exporters had to up their game continually to remain competitive. Even if the deutschmark entered the euro at too high a rate, as some analysts think, it was just another such episode and the German cost adjustment is probably complete by now. The Italian experience was very different. Italy dealt with loss of competitiveness through periodic devaluations of the lira. It was quite a successful strategy too - northern Italy is as rich as Germany - but it is no longer available. Probably because of this different history, Italy has not been able to make the 'real' adjustments to costs and productivity which the Germans have done. Inflationary habits are hard to kill. According to the OECD, Italian unit labour costs have risen 40pc faster than Germany's since 2000. The country is losing competitiveness within the eurozone, as well as facing the threat of cheap competition, and cheap currencies, in Asia. This helps put the interest rate debate into perspective - a complicated perspective. ECB council members immediately rejected the OECD call for cheaper money. They say this is not compatible with a low inflation policy, and they have some evidence to back them up. A recent study found that Germany is the only euro member where the ECB's 2pc interest rate could be described as 'tight'. That is because German inflation - wage and cost inflation as well as consumer prices - is so low. In other countries, including 'sick man' Italy, higher inflation means the real interest rate is a loose, accommodating one. This is why the Frankfurt bank will be so reluctant to cut rates. But the pressure will be immense, especially given this week's political events in Germany. It seems reasonable to conclude that the unpopularity of Chancellor Schro¨der's government has much to do with the squeeze on German wages and working hours, as well as structural reforms designed to increase productivity and reduce costs further. When the effects of that squeeze and those reforms eventually come through, it is not too fanciful to think that Germany will again be the economic success story of Europe. 'Eventually' may not be that long in coming either. But it will not be before the autumn election Mr Schro¨der is seeking. Meanwhile, the German economy must struggle on with interest rates that are too tight. The ECB may have to relent, although it will have to move soon to avoid charges of political favouritism. This would amount to backing the German horse, and why not? Interest rates appropriate for Europe's biggest and, if the truth be told, most adaptable economy, might produce better results than one based on some notional eurozone average. Growth would be better, which would help government finances, confidence and domestic demand. True, eurozone inflation would be higher too, but, as Italy is finding out, there is another constraint on inflation besides the cost of money. Unemployment. In a single currency, failure to keep wages and costs (including government costs) in line with productivity will mean loss of jobs. And that, by the way, applies to everyone, not just Italians.

Subject: Re: Italy says ciao to la dolce vita...
From: Terri
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 05:57:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We should be especially worried about Italy. There must be a change to service industry in Italy, but such a change can be wrenching. I will respond later this day.

Subject: Re: Italy says ciao to la dolce vita...
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 07:13:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This is a wonderful excuse to watch 'La Dolce Vita,' and more of Italian film.

Subject: Vanguard Bond Funds
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 05:37:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Though there have long been worries of bond bubbles and rushes away from bonds, we have in fact been in a bull market in long term bonds that began in December 1981 and extends to this day. A recent bull market in bonds within the longer bull market began in January 2000. The bull market in bonds from January 2000 till now has been the most wonderful provider of returns and safety for those who know how to use the market properly, for me that means using Vanguard bond funds. By following Vanguard principles in using bond funds, investors have avoided the bear market in stocks completely and earned stock like returns since January 2000. Though I believe the bull market in bonds is about over, I am not frightened of bond funds with fairly constant and moderate durations. Remember, the Vanguard short term bond index has a duration of about 2 years. So, a full percentage point increase in interest rates will only result in a loss in fund price of about 2% while yield will gradually increase. Since the quality and diversity of Vanguard investment-grade bond funds is extremely high, where is the fear? Since there are attractive value in stock sectors, an investor can choose to reduce holding in bond funds at this time but fear is not warranted with the proper bond fund investments. This day I will write several times on bond funds.

Subject: Bonds and Bond Funds
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 05:55:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What is interesting is that at just the time I am becoming more cautious on bond funds, Bill Gross has become more bullish on bonds. Remember, I choose to buy bonds only through funds and so think in terms of bond funds though I try to follow the bond market as a whole.

Subject: European Interest Rates are Too High
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 21:28:31 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What is driving the weaker European economies is still American imports, America is surely not the cause of European slowness of growth. American long term interest rates are surprisingly low despite 8 increases in short term rates by the Federal Reserve, and surely our mix of interest rates is not preventing Europe from lowering short term rates. By growing below potential, Europe is not providing for the future nor preventing inflation but needlessly limiting living standards.

Subject: Euro is high still
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 22:10:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Terri. Probably the single largest problem for the European economy is the high value of the Euro vs the US dollar and Asian currencies. European corporations are having to forego profit margins to maintain market share, but they are losing at both. A lot of it could be the lack of ability for EU central banks to agree on a common policy that would push the Euro lower. Really it's Alan Greenspan and the US central bank which has created this problem for Europe. The EU either must begin policies to start sinking the Euro or suffer further loss of export trade and higher unemployment. They didn't want this 'race to the bottom' but the US central bank has forced the issue.

Subject: Re: Euro is high still
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 05:54:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We must further discuss this important issue. There is a single Euro central bank, and this bank sets short term interest rates for all the Euro countries. This bank has had overly restrictive monetary policy for the last 5 years, and this policy has in no way been dictated by America's Federal Reserve. America and Europe should consult on monetary policy, but each monetary system is and should be independent. Along with the Euro bank, there are central banks for Britain and Sweden and Switzerland as non-Euro countries. Each central bank is highly independent, though all the world central banks are linked through currency flows.

Subject: Re: Euro is high still
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 08:58:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'There is a single Euro central bank, and this bank sets short term interest rates for all the Euro countries.' But is there a single EU central banker with the power of an Alan Greenspan? The Europeans have not followed the lead of the Japanese and Chinese with regard to heavy purchasing of US treasuries in an exchange of euros for dollars. Do you think they will start, especially if the dollar and Asian currencies continue to fall against the euro?

Subject: Re: Euro is high still
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 10:21:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The Chair of the Euro Bank has been stronger than I would have expected both within the bank and with regard to the Euro governments. The mandate of the bank is only to limit inflation, unlike our Federal Reserve which is also asked to work towards high employment. The Euro countries have a trade surplus, so foreign exchange is accumulated, but the only course that seems wise would be collect a basket of currencies rather than too many dollars as China and Japan have accumulated. There is a both a wish for a strong Euro and a weak Euro, so buying dollars to generate exports is not likely to occur.

Subject: Re: Euro is high still
From: Pete Weis
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 09:30:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'The Europeans have not followed the lead of the Japanese and Chinese with regard to heavy purchasing of US treasuries in an exchange of euros for dollars. Do you think they will start, especially if the dollar and Asian currencies continue to fall against the euro?' On second thought this is a dumb question. The Europeans would obviously be uninterested in absorbing more risky dollars. They would also be uninterested in bolstering the US consumer so he could continue buying mostly goods from Japan and Asia. But they may be forced to find other ways to weaken the euro and lowering interest rates, as you (Terri) point out, would be one way. The highly valued euro, relative to the dollar, is tempting Europeans to invest in assets outside Europe and in US assets like Florida real estate. They would like to see more investment stay at home.

Subject: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 20:16:51 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/24/AR2005052401614.html Greenspan Misfires on Fannie, Freddie By Steven Pearlstein I have in my hand a report by the Fed professional staff titled, 'Concentration of Risk in the OTC Market for U.S. Dollar Interest Rate Options.' Until I inquired after it Monday, this report was not going to see the light of day, ostensibly because it is based on confidential information provided by Fannie, Freddie and the major dealers in interest-rate swaps. But it comes to three interesting conclusions, which I'll attempt to paraphrase using the Queen's English: (1) The risks to the financial system posed by Fannie and Freddie's use of the derivatives market to hedge interest-rate and mortgage-prepayment risks are less than most of us thought. (2) If either Fannie or Freddie were to fail, these derivatives markets would not melt down. (3) The availability of these hedging instruments allows Fannie, Freddie and big banks to load up their balance sheets with mortgages and, indirectly, lower mortgage interest rates.

Subject: High Yield Bonds
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 22:00:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice that the prices of high yield bonds have stabilized, and better quality high yield bond prices are rising.

Subject: An alternate view
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 22:13:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Bond bubble, American-style By Jack Crooks The past seldom obliges by revealing to us when wildness will break out in the future. Wars, depressions, stock-market booms and crashes, and ethnic massacres come and go, but they always seem to arrive as surprises. After the fact, however, when we study the history of what happened, the source of the wildness appears to be so obvious to us that we have a hard time understanding how people on the scene were oblivious to what lay wait for them. - Peter Bernstein, Against the Gods We believe a nasty popping of the bond-market bubble lies in wait for investors. Why? In short, yields are too low, bond prices too high, and quality spreads too tight. The gargantuan rally, which actually peaked in June 2003, as evidenced in the monthly chart of 30-year bond futures below, should soon be history. The primary source of the 'wildness' seems easy to pinpoint ahead of time - this time. It's the US Federal Reserve. It was the engineering of the emergency Fed Funds rate, to save the world from the clutches of deflation (denying this as the proper cleansing agent for economic sins past) that proved most impressive as bubble fuel. It's now the long march toward the elusive 'normalization' of benchmark interest rates that will draw Zeppelin-like comparisons from observers as long-bond prices head toward earth. We wouldn't be surprised to see a surprise in the form of inflation scare, major hedge-fund collapse, or foreign bank reserve reallocation to hasten the descent of fixed income prices across the entire spectrum: from Treasury to junk. Those holding junk bonds, now the darling of yield chasers, will soon understand the moniker. Here are a few tidbits of anecdotal evidence for your perusal: Net purchases of all US fixed-income securities rose to a record high in October on a rolling 12-month basis. Custody holdings of US debt hit a new high of US$1.329 trillion. Foreign purchases of US corporate bonds hit a record high on a rolling 12-month basis. Foreign purchases of US Agency paper hit a record high on a rolling 12-month basis. US high-yield, or junk, bond issuance has reached record levels; issuance to date totaled $139.8 billion, beating $136 billion in the previous year and just edging ahead of 1998's $137.8 billion. Interest-rate derivatives held by US commercial banks increased to a record $73 trillion (notional value) in the third quarter of 2004. The credit spreads on double- B-rated securities are tighter than they were on the eve of the Long Term Capital Management debacle. Strong investor demand for the debt has pushed the premium over Treasuries to historically low levels. Sources: Thomson Financial, OCC Report, Financial Times, Weldon Money Monitor, Grant's This historic level of love for bonds did give bonds a boost recently. But bond futures didn't reach the highs made in early 2004 and are well below record highs made in June 2003. Prices have stalled and are turning over. It appears as a classic technical pattern of a failed high, leading to a series of lower highs that will lead to a series of lower lows. The market now realizes the Fed is serious about hiking the Fed Funds rate. That, we believe, is why the price action is turning negative. There is a good chance that Fed Funds may rise more quickly than now believed. If the thinking at the Fed is anywhere close to that of Morgan Stanley economist Ted Wieseman, the rush out of bonds may morph to a stampede. 'In an economy growing at a sustained 4% real rate, experiencing near-record low national savings, a corresponding record high current account gap and rising inflation, bubble seems the only reasonable way to describe real short rates of barely over 0%, real five-year rates of less than 1%, real 10-year rates of 1.6%, and real 20-year rates of less than 2%, probably 200 to 300 bp [basis points] below sustainable fair-value levels depending on maturity,' writes Wieseman. Many economists believe a hike in interest rates will improve the dismal US savings picture. 'The net national savings rate has averaged 1.7% through the first three quarters of 2004, just above the record low of 1.2% hit in 2002,' according to Wieseman. The structural dearth in savings rates adds to the US dependence on international investors for funding of the gaping twin deficits - the double-Ds of doom, so to speak. Thus higher rates will play a role in healing US and global 'imbalances'. This is the weighty justification the Fed will use for political cover. The Fed's 'policy mistake' was its decision to run the printing press 24/7 in order save the US economy from what it perceived as a Japan-style deflation. It was a conscious decision by the Fed to create asset bubbles rather than face the painfully healing music of recession. These asset bubbles and artificially lower interest rates have distorted consumer preferences. Instead of relying on genuine old-fashioned income growth to fund consumption, consumers have leveraged wealth off the stock and real-estate bubbles. And precisely because the yield on cash was at historic lows, both professional and not-so-professional investors quickly realized the advantages of borrowing short and lending long. In other words, the Fed has engineered the largest one-way bet in history. The bet: long rates will stay low as far as the eye can see. Risk and uncertainty don't enter into the equation when there's such 'easy' money to be made. What seems to be coming into focus is our 'understanding how people on the scene' are 'oblivious to what lay wait for them'. Jack Crooks has traded in global equity, fixed income, commodity, and currency markets for more than 20 years. He is president of Black Swan Capital, a currency and commodities market advisory firm - BlackSwanTrading.com.

Subject: Re: An alternate view
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Thurs, May 26, 2005 at 07:18:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We must remember, as I keep repeating how much safety there is in moderate or low duration Vanguard bonds funds. Fear of the Vanguard GNMA Bond Fund makes no sense to me, though there may and hopefully will be other investments that are superior. There is no reason to let bond bubblers panic us as they have sought to do these 20 years.

Subject: Steep Rise in Prices for Homes
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 15:14:58 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/25/business/25home.html?pagewanted=all Steep Rise in Prices for Homes Adds to Worry About a Bubble By DAVID LEONHARDT Home prices rose more quickly over the last year than at any point since 1980, a national group of Realtors reported yesterday, raising new questions about whether some local housing markets may be turning into bubbles destined to burst. With mortgage rates still low and job growth accelerating, the real estate market is defying yet another round of predictions that it was on the verge of cooling. The number of homes sold also jumped in April, after having been flat for almost a year. Nationwide, the median price for sales of existing homes, which does not factor in newly built ones, rose to $206,000 last month, up 15.1 percent over the last year and breaking the $200,000 level for the first time, the National Association of Realtors said. Adjusted for inflation, the median price - the point at which half cost more and half cost less - has increased more than a third since 2000. 'We've had robust markets before,' said Maurice J. Veissi, the president of a real estate agency in Miami, who has been a broker for 30 years. 'But this one is so much broader and deeper.' Even before this surge, housing prices had risen more steeply over the last 10 years than during any such period since World War II. A growing number of economists worry that real estate is to this decade what technology stocks were to the 1990's, with many people assuming that home values will rise forever. Over all, home prices have never fallen by a significant amount, and Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, said on Friday that a national drop in price remained unlikely. But they have sometimes fallen sharply in certain locations, including New York and Los Angeles, and Mr. Greenspan, in his strongest warning to date, stated that some metropolitan areas were clearly showing signs of 'froth.' Having been sanguine about real estate in recent years, Mr. Greenspan began to change his tone in March, when he cited some analysts' concern that the housing market might 'implode.' Prices continue to rise most rapidly in the places where they are already highest, including Florida, the Boston-Washington corridor and along the West Coast. In the late 1980's, a typical house in San Diego cost about as much as two typical houses in Syracuse, according to the Realtors' association; today, someone could buy six Syracuse houses for the price of one in San Diego. Prices have jumped most sharply over the last year in the West - up 21 percent in April from a year earlier, compared with an increase of 14 percent in the calendar year 2004. Price increases also accelerated in the Midwest, to almost 13 percent, while they remained roughly similar in the Northeast at 16 percent, and the South, where they are up about 8 percent compared with a year earlier. In a separate report, the Census Bureau said Tuesday that the percentage of homes worth at least a million dollars had almost doubled from 2000 to 2003. California had the highest share of million-dollar homes in 2003, with more than 4 percent valued above that amount. It was followed by Connecticut; Washington, D.C.; Massachusetts; and New York, where an estimated 2.1 percent of the homes were valued at more than $1 million. Nationally, 1 percent are worth more than that. 'There's clearly speculative excess going on,' said Joshua Shapiro, the chief United States economist at MFR Inc., an economic research group in New York. 'A lot of people view real estate as a can't lose.' Until the April surge, the overall housing market had seemed to have reached a plateau. Economists, even some working for real estate lobbying groups, predicted that sales would decline a little in 2005 and prices would rise more modestly. But even as the Fed has steadily lifted its benchmark short-term interest rate, mortgage rates have remained low. The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed loan is now 5.71 percent, down from 6.30 percent a year ago, according to Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage buyer. Mortgage rates are closely tied to the market for long-term government bonds, which are benefiting from purchases by foreign governments, particularly in Asia, that continue to buy Treasury bonds, as well as from investors looking for a haven from risky corporate securities. As the economy has gained strength this year, the still low rates and creative financing arrangements appear to have wooed a new group of homebuyers into the market. Some are trading up to larger houses, while others are buying a vacation homes or putting money into real estate simply as an investment. 'Mortgage rates are doing this,' said David A. Lereah, chief economist of the Realtors' association. 'They're near historic lows.' The number of existing homes that changed hands in April increased 4.5 percent, the biggest monthly gain since early 2004. Sales of condominiums, particularly popular among real estate speculators, rose faster than sales of free-standing homes. Condo prices rose faster, too. To economists worried about a bubble, the growing gap between house prices and almost everything else - rents, incomes, population growth - is the surest sign of trouble. A typical apartment, for example, costs less to rent than it did five years ago, taking inflation into account, according to the National Real Estate Index, which is published by Global Real Analytics, a research company based in San Francisco. The last time that house prices increased more than 15 percent over a 12-month period was in 1980, according to the Realtors' group. But overall inflation was also high at the time, helping to drive home values higher as well. Inflation has been modest in recent years. Mr. Shapiro of MFR said that even a moderate rise in mortgage rates now had the potential to cause a price decline in some expensive markets. A rate increase would change the calculation for people buying residential real estate as an investment, he said, and could make other buyers realize that the recent price jumps could not continue. But other economists predict that powerful demographic forces will keep prices increasing in most of the country. Many baby boomers are buying second homes, and their children - like many immigrants who have arrived in the last generation - are destined, in this view, to buy their first, continuing to stoke demand. Construction companies have also avoided the kind of overbuilding that plagued some regions during the real estate downturn of the early 1990's. Fewer than 2.5 million homes remained on the market in April, equal to only about four months' worth of home sales, and that is near a record low. 'Obviously, there are some local bubbles,' said Mr. Lereah, of the Realtors' group, who called last month's price increase unsustainable. 'But I tend to think that with most of the bubbles, the air will come out slowly, rather than popping.'

Subject: New Rule on Endangered Species
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 12:55:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/24/national/24species.html New Rule on Endangered Species in the Southwest By FELICITY BARRINGER WASHINGTON - The southwestern regional director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has instructed members of his staff to limit their use of the latest scientific studies on the genetics of endangered plants and animals when deciding how best to preserve and recover them. At issue is what happens once a fish, animal, plant or bird is included on the federal endangered species list as being in danger of extinction and needing protection. Dale Hall, the director of the southwestern region, in a memorandum dated Jan. 27, said that all decisions about how to return a species to robust viability must use only the genetic science in place at the time it was put on the endangered species list - in some cases the 1970's or earlier - even if there have been scientific advances in understanding the genetic makeup of a species and its subgroups in the ensuing years. His instructions can spare states in his region the expense of extensive recovery efforts. Arizona officials responsible for the recovery of Apache trout, for example, argue that the money - $2 million to $3 million in the past five years - spent on ensuring the survival of each genetic subgroup of the trout was misdirected, since the species as a whole was on its way to recovery. In his memorandum, Mr. Hall built upon a federal court ruling involving Oregon Coast coho salmon. The judge in that case said that because there was no basic genetic distinction between hatchery fish and their wild cousins, both had to be counted when making a determination that the fish was endangered. In the policy discussion attached to his memorandum, Mr. Hall wrote, 'genetic differences must be addressed' when a species is declared endangered. Thereafter, he said, 'there can be no further subdivision of the entity because of genetics or any other factor' unless the government goes through the time-consuming process of listing the subspecies as a separate endangered species. The regional office, in Albuquerque, covers Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. Mr. Hall's memorandum prompted dissent within the agency. Six weeks later, his counterpart at the mountain-prairie regional office, in Denver, sent a sharp rebuttal to Mr. Hall. 'Knowing if populations are genetically isolated or where gene flow is restricted can assist us in identifying recovery units that will ensure that a species will persist over time,' the regional director, Ralph O. Morgenweck, wrote. 'It can also ensure that unique adaptations that may be essential for future survival continue to be maintained in the species.' Mr. Hall's policy, he wrote, 'could run counter to the purpose of the Endangered Species Act' and 'may contradict our direction to use the best available science in endangered species decisions in some cases.' One retired biologist for the southwestern office, Sally Stefferud, suggested in a telephone interview that the issue went beyond the question of whether to consider modern genetics. 'That's a major issue, of course,' Ms. Stefferud said. 'But I think there's more behind it. It's a move to make it easier' to take away a species's endangered status, she said. That would make it easier for officials to approve actions - like construction, logging or commercial fishing - that could reduce a species's number. Mr. Hall was on vacation and not available for comment Monday. Mr. Morgenweck could not be reached late Monday afternoon, but his assistant confirmed he had sent the rebuttal. The memorandums were provided by the Center for Biological Diversity and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, two groups that opposed Mr. Hall's policy. They said that species whose recovery could be impeded by the policy included the Gila trout and the Apache trout. Mr. Hall's ruling fits squarely into the theory advanced by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a property-rights group in California, that endangered species be considered as one genetic unit for purposes of being put on the endangered species list and in subsequent management plans. In an e-mail message on Monday, Russ Brooks, the lawyer who worked on the Oregon case for the foundation, wrote, 'Having read the memo, I can say that I agree with it.' Bruce Taubert, the assistant director for wildlife management at the Arizona Game and Fish Department, said of the new policy, 'We support it,' adding, in the case of the endangered Apache trout, 'Why should we spend an incredible amount of time and money to do something with that species if it doesn't add to the viability and longevity of the species that was listed?' 'By not having to worry about small genetic pools, we can do these things faster and better,' Mr. Taubert said. But Philip Hedrick, a professor of population genetics at Arizona State University, said that it made no sense to ignore scientific advances in his field. 'Genetics and evolutionary thinking have to be incorporated if we're going to talk about long-term sustainability of these species,' he said. 'Maybe in the short term you can have a few animals closely related and inbred out there, but for them to survive in any long-term sense you have to think about this long-term picture that conservation biologists have come up with over the last 25 years.' Professor Hedrick added that cutting off new genetic findings that fell short of providing evidence that a separate species had evolved was 'completely inappropriate, because as everyone knows, we're able to know a lot more than we did five years ago.' He added, 'They talk about using the best science, but that's clearly not what they're trying to do here.' In a telephone interview from the Albuquerque fish and wildlife office, Larry Bell, a spokesman, said that Mr. Hall's interpretation meant that 'the only thing that we have to consider in recovery is: does the species exist?' 'We don't have to consider whether various adaptive portions of a species exist,' he said. Asked about why an Oregon ruling would have an impact on policies in the southwest, he said: 'My belief is that because it's the only court decision that addresses the issue of genetics. While we're not within this region bound by the Oregon decision per se, it would provide guidance.'

Subject: Greg vs. Paul (Part II)
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 12:44:40 (EDT)
Email Address: panchovillan@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.fortune.com/fortune/articles/0,15114,1064384-1,00.html

Subject: Re: Greg vs. Paul (Part II)
From: Pete Weis
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 15:34:00 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'I had Paul as a teacher at MIT. And when I was at CEA in '82 and '83, he was there as well. I was a junior staffer in the Reagan administration. Two members of the senior staff were Krugman and (former Harvard economics professor, Clinton Treasury Secretary and current Harvard president Lawrence) Summers. At that time he was a brilliant economist. I thought he'd win a Nobel prize. I think there's a good chance he still will. His early work on international trade theory deserves it.' 'It's strange what's happened since then. When he became a New York Times columnist, he decided to abandon writing about economics as an economist does. He's very liberal, which is fine—most of my friends at Harvard are liberal—but whenever someone disagrees with him, his first inclination is to think that person is either a liar or a fool. It's amazing to me that an academic would behave that way. The one thing that I value about academia is open-mindedness, the premise that all ideas and different points of view should be considered. No one has a monopoly on the truth. The one defining characteristic of a good professor is to be open to all viewpoints.' 'I guess if you're a columnist, you want to be widely talked about and be the most e-mailed. It's the same thing that drives talk show hosts to become Jerry Springer. You end up overstating the case because it makes good reading. The problem is that economists by their nature—with a lot of 'on the one hand' and 'on the other hand' in their prose—can make boring reading.' - Greg Mankiw He's clearly bitter about being hammered for supporting Bush economic policies, especially by Paul Krugman. It drew blood and he wants to draw blood in return. In this interview he still supports Bush administration fiscal policies which he had a hand in. He'd prefer economists to do melba toast analysis of our present economic direction. Over time, as things play out, I expect his bitterness to increase. He seems, IMO, to be out of touch (as is the Bush administration) with the plight of the middle-class. Thanks to economists like Paul Krugman they have a voice. We have far, far too many economists in this world who are nothing more than a glass of water. I'm sorry I have to say that, but throughout history that generally has been true.

Subject: Additional thoughts
From: Pete Weis
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 20:36:04 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I don’t remember reading any material by Paul Krugman of a personal nature with regard to Greg Mankiw. Everything I’ve read by Paul krugman regarding policies, whether economic or political, instigated by the Bush administration have not contained personal assaults on the economists involved. He has pointed to changing and sometimes hypocritical (my word) positions by Alan Greenspan. He has talked about the falsehoods which led to the Iraq war and he has named names. He has talked about the relationship between corporate insiders and members of the Bush administration, especially when it related to energy policy. He has chronicled the sins of George W (the Harkin insider stock sales, etc.) when we live in a time of corporate accounting corruption. This interview in Fortune, however, is a very personal in its attack on the integrity of Paul Krugman. IMO, it reveals that Mankiw feels very attached to the Bush administration economic policies and is very bitter with Paul Krugman’s criticisms and takes it very personally. With regard to Mankiw’s views that economists should be “opened minded” which translates into being less critical, we have to realize what were talking about here. If one is a physicist and comes up with a flawed theory regarding the dark matter in the universe, few pay a price for the bad physics. If a surgeon works from a bad diagnosis and then performs the wrong surgery, the patient can pay a heavy price indeed. If an influential economist working for an administration is responsible or partly responsible for flawed economic policies, millions will pay for those mistakes. So it isn’t just about coldly calculated numbers – it’s about real pain. I don’t think Mankiw feels the pain (except to his ego).

Subject: Re: Additional thoughts
From: Paul G. Brown
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 21:09:23 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
A wise man of my acquaintance once gave me a tremendously useful piece of advice. He told me that when judging a person's worth we are as well to give as much weight to the quality of their enemies as we do their selection of friends. Okrent and Mankiw have declared themselves.

Subject: Re: Additional thoughts
From: Pete Weis
To: Paul G. Brown
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 21:37:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Paul. Good advice indeed.

Subject: Re: Additional thoughts
From: Terri
To: Paul G. Brown
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 21:34:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
These are discerning and helpful comments indeed.

Subject: Don't cry for me, Mr. Greenspan
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 12:38:23 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
In the past few weeks, the world's financial markets have acted in a confused, counter-intuitive, bipolar fashion. Are investors risk-seeking or becoming more risk-averse? The recent rally in equity markets suggests the former; the fall in Treasury bond yields and the widening of credit spreads suggest the latter. So what is going on? Is the global outlook improving or not? Is everything hunky dory or about to implode? Or can we steer a Goldilocks-style middle ground of not too hot and not too cold? Bond markets are sanguine about inflation because they think that Greenspan and Co are not going to let inflation rip. This is probably a bit too charitable, as inflation is already on the march. Anyone who cares to go shopping in this country already knows that. Try having a conversation that does not come around eventually to prices rising. Were it not for cheap Chinese-manufactured clothes and appliances, inflation would already be much worse. However, the growing protectionist sentiment - articulated again last week in the US and the EU - suggests that the benign influence of cheap imports is beginning to be outweighed by considerations of their malign influence on US and European manufacturing industries. Think Dungarvan. But all this is secondary. Even the increasingly grim reality in Iraq and the stubborn persistence of high oil prices - the two phenomena are strongly correlated in my opinion - are not the chief cause of the declining US economy. The real issue is - would you believe - money. But before explaining what the money problem is, let's pose the following question: is it conceivable that, even one year ago, serious journalists working for respected publications would have dared suggest that the US might end up like Argentina? Suggesting that the currency might collapse, the banking system crumble and most people's savings be wiped out? A year ago, anyone suggesting that would have been considered - in the best case - “off the wall'‘. Yet an AP reporter, Paul Blustein, has just written a book published by a respected house, in which he describes the process leading up to the implosion of the Argentinian economy in 2001.In his book And The Money Kept Rolling In (And Out) - Wall Street, the IMF and the Bankrupting of Argentina, Blustein says that the US is already going in the same direction. If that is not enough, a senior columnist for Bloomberg (which is now the supplier of financial data and analysis favoured by most of the large financial institutions) has reviewed this book. This review gives prominence to the Argentina-US comparison and, after making all the necessary caveats and qualifications, he applauds and agrees with the AP man's analysis. Let's be clear: the point is not that the US is poised to collapse or even that this is likely. The point is that the US is no win such bad financial shape, that it is perfectly legitimate to suggest that, if something isn't done, the US could end up like Argentina. And the people saying this are not a bunch of nuts holed up in an atomic bunker in the Rockies, equipped with three years' supply of canned food and a copy of Thomas Paine's Rights of Man (who incidentally began his pamphleteering career in Dublin).This is the mainstream. What is it that so concerns these analysts? It can be summed up in the following quotation: “The amount Americans owed on home equity lines of credit, according to the Federal Insurance Deposit Corporation, jumped to about $491 billion at the end of 2004, up 42 per cent from a year earlier, and more than triple the amount at the end of 2000.” This is taken from a recent item on the CNN website. It relates to a phenomenon that has become central to all of us - consumer credit. There are two ways of looking at this phenomenon. The first view is that it is no big deal. This is the perspective of the economic establishment and can be easily summarised by another CNN headline reporting on a speech delivered by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank: “Greenspan: More credit is a good thing'‘. Many people in the global finance game regard Greenspan as the Almighty but, even if he isn't actually God, Greenspan is at least his earthly representative - the Pope of Mammon. He is the man responsible for the expansionary monetary policy of the US - and, by extension, the western world - over the last decade. Greenspan has overseen the creation of more money than anyone else, ever. The result has been a prolonged period of economic expansion and, very significantly, the avoidance of several potential catastrophes. That's why the chairman thinks that credit is a good thing - as he explained, in remarkably simple terms by his standards, in his speech that day. But let's go back to basics and consider how the credit system works. The central bank and its policy is the crucial element in determining how much money is available and hence which direction the economy goes. But the central bank merely provides liquidity; it is the bankers and others who use this liquidity to create new money, where none previously existed. They do this by providing credit to us and our firms.This process is the essence of banking and the reason why banking and the financial system generally (not high-tech, not energy and certainly not health, education or social services) is the heart of the modern economy. That means that the people responsible for the huge increase in home equity loans and consumer credit generally are the bankers. It is their lending policies that have generated this flood of credit. To quote from another recent item on CNN: “Pretty much anyone can get a loan within reason,” said Robert Moulton, president of mortgage brokerage Americana Mortgage Group. Therein lies the real story: banks are now throwing money at anyone capable of signing their name on the loan documents - or even making their mark, if they are illiterate. That explains why the only positive recent data about the US economy relates to the housing market: “New home sales hit a new record, and mortgage applications are also strong.” In short, reports of the imminent demise of the US housing boom have been grossly exaggerated. But is this a good thing? If you accept the orthodox Greenspan/Wall Street approach to the economy, then of course it is. All credit is good, cheap credit is divine and all hail mighty Greenspan for providing so much of it. There are, however, heretics around who reject this dogma. The heretical view is that the reason people are buying more and more houses - in the US, Britain, Australia, Ireland, Spain, South Africa and Canada - is because the banks are ready and willing to finance them. History suggests that this cannot last. The longer it carries on, the worse the ultimate come-uppance will be. Yes, it is still very unlikely that the US economy will implode Argentina-style. But the mere fact that one can suggest a parallel of any sort between US 2005 and Argentina 2001 is instructive. I'm not surprised the markets are confused. The reason equities are rising is the same reason property is rising - because there is abundant credit out there driving prices. Can bonds and equities go up at the same time indefinitely? Well, in the short term, two apparently contradictory things can be true, but longer term, I'm not so sure. Source: www.davidmcwilliams.ie

Subject: France and the European Constitution
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 11:32:56 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/24/international/europe/24france.html?ei=5070&en=497fc3e246ff8892&ex=1117598400&pagewanted=all In Southern France, Strong Opposition to Europe Treaty By ELAINE SCIOLINO MONTPELLIER, France - Over sausage sandwiches and vast amounts of beer and local wine, thousands of Frenchmen stood around and argued over how best to save France. Save France from Europe, that is: the Europe that France played a crucial role in building a half-century ago. But now, say the anti-globalizers and anti-imperialists, the farmers and factory workers who crammed into the smoky exhibition hall in this southern city Friday, Europe has lost its way. They may be treated as traitors and imbeciles by their opponents, they add, but they call themselves patriots. 'I feel like a rock star,' said Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a left-wing Socialist senator from Essonne, as he was hugged and kissed by admirers for breaking with his party and joining the 'no' camp. 'People stop me on the streets to tell me their problems and ask for my opinion about the constitution,' he said. 'I tell them it is absolutely monstrous.' Poll after poll predicts that the French will reject the 458-article constitutional treaty in a referendum on Sunday. If that happens the sky will not fall. The 25-country European Union will go on as before under existing treaties, and France, one of the six founders, will remain one of its most important members. But rejection would have deep repercussions for France and for Europe. It would be a humiliating personal defeat for President Jacques Chirac, who confidently announced last July that the constitution would be decided by popular referendum and not by Parliament, and whose personal approval rating slipped to an eight-year low of 39 percent in a BVA-L'Express poll released Friday. It could paralyze decision-making in the European Union for months, delay agreement on the group's next seven-year budget, slow down the torturous process of admitting new members, inhibit the ability of the European Union to project power as a bloc in foreign and economic policy and possibly weaken the euro further and make it even more difficult to impose discipline on member nations' spending and inflation levels. Even if a decision is made to continue the ratification process until all members decide which way to go, the constitution needs a unanimous yes to come into force. In short, a no vote in France would at the very least slow down the forward momentum of a Europe as a united force. The 'partisans for the no,' as the rejectionists on both ends of the political spectrum are called, are already celebrating. On Friday night it was a gathering of leftists. They wore badges and carried balloons declaring that to love Europe is to vote no. They bought $5-a-bottle merlot made by a cooperative in the area with custom-designed labels that said no. They sang along to Edith Piaf's 'Non, je ne regrette rien.' ('I regret nothing.') They chanted, 'No, no, all together, all together,' as speaker after speaker told them they were right. A handful of workers from the local IBM factory told stories of jobs that had moved to places like Slovakia, the Philippines and China. 'This is a democratic insurrection,' José Bové, the sheep farmer and union leader who is France's most visible opponent of globalization, told the cheering crowd. He proposed what he called an 'amusing action' for the day after the referendum: he said all French voters should take the copies of the constitution that they received in their mailboxes, 'put them in envelopes and send them back' to President Chirac. The rally was one of dozens of events scheduled for the frenzied final days of the national referendum campaign. Mr. Chirac's center-right government has joined forces with the Socialist Party and other mainstream political parties, France's business establishment and most of the political and economic elite of Europe in a desperate, last-ditch effort to turn the tide. As election day approaches, the issue has seized France. The major newspapers have published thick sections with major excerpts from the constitution, along with commentary, and debates on the issue dominate radio and television. Political figures and the major parties have churned out DVD's urging voters to vote yes. Five of the country's 10 top nonfiction best sellers deal with the constitution. The desperation of the 'yes' side has made strange bedfellows, including a joint campaign appearance by two rival presidential hopefuls: Nicolas Sarkozy, the leader of the center-right party UMP, and François Hollande, the Socialist Party leader. Much of the elite has spoken of the constitution's defeat in apocalyptic terms. Mr. Chirac has said that France 'would cease to exist politically in the bosom' of Europe if France votes no. Some 100 French business leaders have issued a manifesto saying that while a no vote would not cause immediate economic trauma, it would be 'a grave error' for France in the long term. Mario Monti, the European Union's former competition commissioner, has warned that a rejection would set off a crisis of confidence among investors that could turn Europe into a 'suburb of Shanghai.' Romano Prodi, former president of the European Commission, has gone further, predicting 'the end of Europe.' But some French political figures have warned of the risks of overdramatizing the consequences of a no, which could further alienate voters. 'I'm not going to play it up as the apocalypse,' François Fillon, the national education minister, was quoted as telling a small gathering at a private home outside Paris earlier this month. 'I will not tell you that if the no passes, Europe is going to stop and France will be banished from the union.' Both the left and the right have preyed on fears held by voters that the constitution is an 'ultraliberal' treaty, in the sense that it would enshrine a market economy, robbing them of their generous health, employment, educational and pension benefits. Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front, which opposes the treaty, has weighed in with another reason to oppose it. He has said - incorrectly - that ratification would mean Turkey's admission to the European Union and mass waves of what he calls 'non-European' Turkish immigrants, along with Gypsies from Romania and Bulgaria, and other 'miserable native populations of the east.' The campaign underscores another political phenomenon as well: the vast gap between the French elite and ordinary voters. 'There is a real division in French society today between France from on high and France from below,' said Jean-Paul Fournier, the center-right mayor of Nîmes, who supports the constitution but whose constituents voted in 1992 against the European Union treaty that ushered in the euro. In a poll in the Montpellier-based daily Midi Libre released Friday, 61 percent of those surveyed in the province of Gard, which includes Nîmes, said they would vote no. Mr. Fournier and his administrators have lobbied for the constitution in neighborhoods throughout the city, which suffers from more than 15 percent unemployment and where the Communist Party and the National Front are both strong. In some of its tough suburbs, unemployment is as high as 40 percent. One of the challenges the mayor faces is that the constitution promises nothing tangible and immediate. 'I get asked all the time, 'What's in this for France?' ' Mr. Fournier said in an interview in his office. 'The problem is that I can't say to the unemployed worker, 'If you vote for the constitution, you will get a job.' I would be lying. I tell them this is a vision for the long term, for their children and grandchildren.' Paradoxically, some union leaders in Nîmes are in favor of the constitution, arguing that in the long run a strong Europe will help the French worker. But they also are finding it hard to persuade their rank and file that their future is to be found in the streamlined, more rational European Union that they say the constitution will bring. 'Our politicians have done a great job of blaming the European Union when things go bad,' said Patrice Couderc, a union leader from the Gard region, 'but never praising it when its money helps build a bridge or a hospital, when it imposes an improvement in working conditions or equal rights for women. The worker, the person in the street, doesn't understand the debate of the elite.'

Subject: Europe's Interest Rates
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 11:28:07 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Sluggish European growth is a factor in threatening a French vote in a few days against the European Constitution, the same growth problem has threatened Germany's government in fairly modest labor reforms and led to a difficult call for early elections. Though European market adjustment to interest rate changes is not as effecient as in America, because work does not move as readily region to region, interest rates have been too high.

Subject: America's Interest Rates
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 11:50:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Frankly, though I am listening carefully to all sorts of arguments, I am concerned about short term American interest rates rising too much. I just can not quite understand what a long term Treasury rate of 4.02% represents for our economy. There is little issue of 10 year Treasury notes, there is central bank demand for dollar securities and after all the dollar is strengthening against the Euro, but why are long term interest rates so low?

Subject: Growth and the Poor: Latin America
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 10:59:04 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/25/opinion/25wed3.html Growth and the Poor Last year should have been a good one for Latin America's poor; the region's economies grew by 5.8 percent. Yet outside Chile, Latin America's high growth rate is not cause for rejoicing. In places with relatively egalitarian income distribution, growth helps everyone. But in unequal countries, where the poor get only a few cents out of every new dollar, growth bypasses the poorest. Latin America is the world's most unequal region. That means growth will not reduce poverty unless Latin American governments redirect it to the poor. The first thing they must do is keep growing. Chile's achievements are in part the product of sustained growth. Unfortunately, most countries in Latin America are growing not because they have improved productivity, but because of the rise in the price of oil and other commodities, quick booms that lend themselves to quick busts. Many countries also are carrying debt loads far above what is considered sustainable and spend a big chunk of their treasury on servicing their debts. For three very poor countries, Honduras, Nicaragua and Bolivia, the international banks and their members are reducing debt, although not enough. But there is no help in sight for heavily indebted Uruguay, Peru, Argentina, Brazil and other countries. Latin American nations also typically take in far too little in taxes. To reduce poverty with what they do have, Latin American countries would do well to follow the model set by Chile, which has cut extreme poverty by 65 percent since 1990 by carefully targeting its spending. Chile makes direct payments to poor households. It has invested in rural primary education and helps buy housing for the poorest people. These programs have been successful because Chile is well governed enough to measure accurately which families need help and deliver it with little corruption. Some other countries have similar programs. Since 1997, Mexico has helped more than four million of the poorest families keep their children in school, eat better and stay healthier. In many countries, these programs need closer oversight to keep local politicians from siphoning off aid. But in general, such targeted help can make a difference. In Mexico, it is a safety net for the most marginalized. With sustained growth, however, such programs could help lift millions of people out of poverty.

Subject: Utilities Utilities Utilities
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 10:51:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/25/business/25place.html Buffett Pays $5.1 Billion for Utility and Promises More Deals By HEATHER TIMMONS and JAD MOUAWAD LONDON - Warren E. Buffett struck a deal on Tuesday to buy the electric utility PacifiCorp for $5.1 billion from Scottish Power, his largest purchase in eight years. Sounding a bullish note for the energy industry in general, he promised to buy similar assets in the future. Mr. Buffett, whose investing style has been scrutinized this year because of an investigation into the insurance industry, one of his longstanding favorites, said Tuesday that energy companies were a good fit with his company, Berkshire Hathaway, because they need capital and provide steady returns. He also trumpeted an eagerness to do big deals and a willingness to look outside the United States. 'There is no limit to the amount of money we would have available for the right acquisition,' Mr. Buffett said during a news conference in London about the PacifiCorp deal. 'Frankly, the bigger, the better,' he said. Berkshire Hathaway has more than $40 billion to invest at the moment, he said. 'If you have a big one out there, try us out.' Berkshire Hathaway will also assume $4.3 billion in debt in the deal. The purchase of PacifiCorp is Mr. Buffett's largest since Berkshire bought the General Re reinsurance business in 1998. That acquisition has not paid off as expected. A deal in 2000 between General Re and the American International Group is a focus of an investigation by government officials and regulators into transactions that made A.I.G.'s financial condition look better than it was. Mr. Buffett is not a target of the investigation, but he has cooperated as a witness. In the deal announced on Tuesday, PacifiCorp, which provides electricity to 1.6 million customers in six states in the Northwest, will become part of MidAmerican Energy Holdings, Mr. Buffett's utility company, which is based in Des Moines. The purchase will create a company with $10 billion in annual revenue. Energy will be 'an important industry 10, 20, 50 years from now, and Berkshire Hathaway hopes to expand its investments' in the sector, Mr. Buffett said during the news conference, where he appeared by teleconference. 'We will look at energy assets around the world,' he said, and invest through MidAmerican. MidAmerican owns CE Electric UK in Northeastern England. 'The energy field is one that I basically like,' Mr. Buffett said in a phone interview later on Tuesday. 'It's not a business you can dream about, however. It's a capital-intensive business that provides decent returns. It's stable and it's predictable.' Scottish Power, which bought PacifiCorp in 1999 for about $10 billion, will record a £927 million ($1.7 billion) charge because of the sale, which is expected to close early next year. The deal is subject to regulatory approval. PacifiCorp has been a disappointment to Scottish Power investors. The company, based in Glasgow, failed to increase PacifiCorp's revenue as predicted and said on Tuesday that the unit's earnings were below expectations. Over all, Scottish Power reported pretax profit of £1 billion ($1.83 billion) for the year ended March 31. In November, Scottish Power started a review of PacifiCorp, which provides about half its earnings. Scottish Power executives said Tuesday that after looking at capital requirements and regulatory developments, they decided to sell the business. 'This cash-consumptive, low-return profile was clearly too much to bear' given the stronger performances of the company's other divisions, Merrill Lynch said Tuesday in a research report about the deal. The company is a good fit for Berkshire Hathaway's investors, who have different needs, Mr. Buffett said. Unlike Scottish Power investors, Berkshire investors would rather see their profits reinvested than receive dividends, he said. Shares of Berkshire rose $2,010 on Tuesday, or 2.4 percent, to $85,500. Scottish Power rose 27.75 pence, or more than 6 percent, to 469.75 pence in London. Some analysts said the PacifiCorp acquisition could be a precursor to a buyout of Portland General Electric in Oregon, which is owned by Enron. Both companies are based in Portland, and a combination could provide some savings. 'It would make sense to own both of these utilities,' said Doug Fisher, an electric utility analyst at A. G. Edwards. Erik Sten, a Portland city commissioner , said, 'Any effort to consolidate PacifiCorp and Portland General Electric would be a divisive issue and would bolster support by industrial customers for the city to take over Portland G.E.' The city is negotiating with Enron to acquire the utility. Mr. Sten said the city could significantly cut rates because it would not owe federal income taxes and could raise capital more cheaply than any for-profit owner. The PacifiCorp deal comes as a new wave of buyers are showing interest in utilities like water and electricity worldwide. Cash-rich investors looking for a place to park their money are attracted to the relatively unglamorous, generally highly regulated industries because of their steady returns. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was part of an effort to buy Portland G.E., which Oregon regulators rejected in March. Bill Gates serves on the board of Berkshire Hathaway and is Mr. Buffett's frequent bridge partner. In Britain, local and American banks and private equity investors have bought up a large portion of the country's water industry. Private equity investors have been particularly drawn to the sector because the steady revenue allows them to take out hefty loans against the companies. Banks, meanwhile, can turn the steady stream of revenue into securities, which they package and sell to bond investors. In the United States, utility companies, which operate as regulated monopolies, are trying to expand through acquisition after several quarters of streamlining businesses. But they face intense regulatory scrutiny and a long approval process, analysts said, which might slow future purchases. 'There is no doubt the industry is consolidating,' said Paul Patterson, an analyst at Glenrock Associates in New York. 'But I don't think there will be a wave of mergers. There are several barriers to entry, namely at the state and federal level, and there's been little recent track record of how the regulators will ultimately treat such mergers.' Mr. Buffett said he did not expect regulatory opposition to his offer. 'We're the kind of owners they will be looking for,' he said during the interview. 'We will be the last owners of these properties, and we have the capital to invest in them.' Heather Timmons reported from London for this article, and Jad Mouawad from New York. David Cay Johnston contributed reporting.

Subject: German Leader Gambles in Election Call
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 10:45:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/25/business/worldbusiness/25euro.html German Leader Gambles in Call for Early Election By MARK LANDLER FRANKFURT - By calling for an early national election in Germany this autumn, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is doing something radical for a normally opportunistic politician: depriving himself of the windfall of a potential upturn in the German economy. While the portents are still faint - and the latest indicators continue to be negative - most economists agree that Germany is at the bottom of its economic cycle and is likely to bounce back later this year and in 2006. Some of that recovery may be due to the very economic policies that inflicted pain on Germans in recent months, like Mr. Schröder's overhaul of labor laws, which contributed to the devastating defeat of his Social Democratic Party last Sunday in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. 'He's losing the chance to run on the fruits of his reforms,' said Holger Schmieding, the chief European economist at Bank of America in London. 'If it hadn't been for the oil shock, which kept the economy down, some of those fruits would have shown up in the numbers already.' Mr. Schröder, experts say, has compelling reasons to move up the election by a year - not least to head off a split in his own party. But catching a favorable economic wave is decidedly not one of them. 'I don't see any short-term economic rationale for the move,' said Norbert Walter, the chief economist at Deutsche Bank. 'This is not the cool economic calculation of a politician. At the end of the day, he values the solidarity and cohesion of his party above his policy triumphs.' With oil prices expected to remain at current high levels for the next several months, few economists think the outlook in Germany will brighten between now and mid-September, when Mr. Schröder is expected to face the conservative leader, Angela Merkel, at the polls. For Mr. Schröder to lose to Ms. Merkel would be a bitter twist, since she is expected to accelerate, rather than pull back, the 'pain now, gain later' policies that cost Mr. Schröder his popularity with voters. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Tuesday cut its growth forecast for Germany this year to 1 percent, from 1.2 percent. And investor confidence unexpectedly dropped in a monthly survey by the ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim. Nationwide polls put the Social Democrats as much as 17 points behind Ms. Merkel's party, the Christian Democratic Union, prompting many economists to speak about the chancellor in the past tense. 'If there are no miracles, he will lose,' said Thomas Mayer, the chief European economist at Deutsche Bank. Still, Mr. Mayer noted that Germany was 'working its way out of its position as the sick man of Europe,' thanks to the country's exports, which continue to surge, despite the slackness of the domestic economy. This reflects the heightened competitiveness of German industry. Companies like Siemens and Volkswagen have managed to keep a lid on wage increases, in part by threatening to move jobs outside the country. Italy, whose competitive position has eroded in recent years, has slipped into a recession and has now replaced Germany as the 'sick man of Europe.' The German government did its part in this process by adopting a new labor-market law, known as Hartz IV, after Peter Hartz, the Volkswagen executive who helped devise it. The law makes it difficult for people to collect welfare checks for indefinite periods, forcing them back into the job market. Hartz IV caused an increase in the number of jobless people, to more than five million, after it took effect last January, as many on the welfare rolls were reclassified as unemployed. But over time, economists believe, it will make Germany's labor market more resilient, strengthening the economy. 'The German government has been doing some things to prepare for the future, and it should be commended for its courage,' said Jean-Philippe Cotis, the chief economist at the O.E.C.D. in Paris. 'In Germany,' he added, 'the problem is, how can you reestablish confidence?' Unemployment, which is at its highest level since World War II, has sapped the confidence of German consumers. As long as they do not spend, the German economy will remain becalmed. Yet in the last couple of months, the number of full-time jobs in Germany has stabilized, according to Jörg Krämer, chief economist at the HVB Group in Munich. That should help finally rekindle domestic consumption, he said. Mr. Krämer is predicting a modest acceleration in growth in the second half of this year. To be sure, a German recovery would not be sensational. The O.E.C.D. projects it will grow 1.6 percent next year, about its normal rate, given population trends. The betting among economists is that Ms. Merkel and the Christian Democrats would push farther than Mr. Schröder, particularly in areas like overhauling the health care system. The chancellor, by putting his job on the line, might be opening the door to more sweeping changes.

Subject: China, New Land of Shoppers
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 10:39:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/25/business/worldbusiness/25mall.html?pagewanted=all China, New Land of Shoppers, Builds Malls on Gigantic Scale By DAVID BARBOZA DONGGUAN, China - After construction workers finish plastering a replica of the Arc de Triomphe and buffing the imitation streets of Hollywood, Paris and Amsterdam, a giant new shopping theme park here will proclaim itself the world's largest shopping mall. The South China Mall - a jumble of Disneyland and Las Vegas, a shoppers' version of paradise and hell all wrapped in one - will be nearly three times the size of the massive Mall of America in Minnesota. It is part of yet another astonishing new consequence of the quarter-century economic boom here: the great malls of China. Not long ago, shopping in China consisted mostly of lining up to entreat surly clerks to accept cash in exchange for ugly merchandise that did not fit. But now, Chinese have started to embrace America's modern 'shop till you drop' ethos and are in the midst of a buy-at-the-mall frenzy. Already, four shopping malls in China are larger than the Mall of America. Two, including the South China Mall, are bigger than the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, which just surrendered its status as the world's largest to an enormous retail center in Beijing. And by 2010, China is expected to be home to at least 7 of the world's 10 largest malls. Chinese are swarming into malls, which usually have many levels that rise up rather than out in the sprawling two-level style typical in much of the United States. Chinese consumers arrive by bus and train, and growing numbers are driving there. On busy days, one mall in the southern city of Guangzhou attracts about 600,000 shoppers. For years, the Chinese missed out on the fruits of their labor, stitching shoes, purses or dresses that were exported around the world. Now, China's growing consumerism means that its people may be a step or two closer to buying the billion Cokes, Revlon lipsticks, Kodak cameras and the like that foreign companies have long dreamed they could sell. 'Forget the idea that consumers in China don't have enough money to spend,' said David Hand, a real estate and retailing expert at Jones Lang LaSalle in Beijing. 'There are people with a lot of money here. And that's driving the development of these shopping malls.' For sale are a wide range of consumer favorites - cellphones, DVD players, jeans, sofas and closets to assemble yourself. There is food from many regions of China and franchises with familiar names - KFC, McDonald's and IMAX theaters. Stores without Western pedigree sell Gucci and Louis Vuitton goods. While peasants and poor workers may only window-shop, they have joined a regular pilgrimage to the mall that has set builders and developers afire. The developers are spending billions of dollars to create these supersize shopping centers in the country's fastest-growing cities - betting that a nation of savers is on the verge of also becoming a nation of tireless shoppers. For the moment, the world's biggest mall is the six-million-square-foot Golden Resources Mall, which opened last October in northwestern Beijing. It has already sparked envy and competitive ambition among the world's big mall builders, who outwardly scoff at the Chinese ascent to mall-dom, even as they plot their own path to build on such scale in China. How big is six million square feet? That mall, which is expected to cost $1.3 billion when completed, spans the length of six football fields and easily exceeds the floor space of the Pentagon, which at 3.7 million square feet is the world's largest office building. It is a single, colossal five-story building - with rows and rows of shops stacked on top of more rows and rows of shops - so large that it is hard to navigate among the 1,000 stores and the thousands of shoppers. The shopping-mall building spree, like much economic activity in China these days, is so aggressive that some economists and officials have started to worry that it may be another sign of an overheated economy, and that the country's building frenzy may be lurching toward a fall. So far, though, there is no end in sight - and no evidence that China's long boom is likely to suffer anything more than a modest slowdown. 'These shopping centers are just huge,' said Radha Chadha, who runs Chadha Strategy Consulting in Hong Kong, which tracks shopping malls and the sales of luxury goods in Asia. 'China likes to do things big. They like to make an impact.' Retail sales in China have jumped nearly 50 percent in the last four years, as measured by the nation's biggest retailers, government data says. And with rising incomes, Chinese are spending their money on shoes, bags, clothing and even theme-park-style rides. 'We like this place a lot,' said Ruth Tong, 27, an early visitor to the South China Mall here in Dongguan with her husband and 5-year-old son. 'They have a lot of fun things to do. They have shopping and even rides. So we like it and yes, we'll come back again.' The central government recently ordered state-controlled banks to tighten lending to huge shopping mall projects. But that has not yet tempered the plans of aggressive developers and local government officials for transforming vast tracts of land into huge shopping centers. After all, the demand is certainly growing. Income per person in China has reached the equivalent of about $1,100 a year, up 50 percent since 2000. China is still a land of disparity, though it has a growing middle class that has swelled to as many as 70 million. And as the country rapidly urbanizes and modernizes, open-air food markets and old department stores are being replaced by giant supermarkets and big-box retailers. Ikea and Carrefour, the French supermarket chain, are mobbed with customers. And China's increasingly affluent young people are adopting the American teenager's habit of hanging out at the mall. Big enclosed shopping malls, which came of age in America in the late 1970's and Europe in the late 80's, are sprouting up all over China. According to retail analysts, more than 400 large malls have been built in China in the last six years. And at a time when the biggest malls under construction in the United States measure about a million square feet, developers here are creating malls that are six, seven and eight million square feet. The current titleholder, the Golden Resources Mall, where 20,000 employees work, is the creation of Huang Rulun, an entrepreneur who made a fortune selling real estate in coastal Fujian Province. Six years ago, Mr. Huang acquired a 440-acre tract of land outside Beijing to create a virtual satellite city, which will soon have 110 new apartment buildings, along with schools and offices planted like potted trees around his neon-lighted mall. Perhaps the most aggressive mall building is taking place in Guangdong Province in the south, the seat of China's flourishing Pearl River Delta region. In January, more than 400,000 people showed up in the principal city, Guangzhou, for the opening of the Grandview Mall, which also calls itself the world's largest mall, with three million square feet. It even says it has the tallest indoor fountain. Exactly who has the world's largest shopping mall appears to be in dispute. Some Chinese malls claim the largest floor size; others count leased space. Still others say that what counts is that there is only one roof. Indeed, the Triple Five Group, which owns the Mall of America (2.5 million square feet of leased shopping space) and the West Edmonton Mall in Canada (3.2 million square feet), has not conceded defeat. 'They are just shops, like a bazaar in the Middle East,' Nader Ghermezian, one of the company's principals, said dismissively - and mistakenly - about the Golden Resources Mall, which is under one roof. 'They shouldn't be considered. We are still the largest in the world.' But that raises another question: Are the malls in this country too big? 'It's not so easy to shop at these locations,' Mr. Hand of Jones Lang LaSalle said. 'Most shopping centers survive on repeat customers. To go to a shopping mall so big and so congested, it may be difficult to have repeat customers.' The developers beg to differ. 'Shopping malls are a new concept in China, and we are trying to find our own way to do it,' said Cai Xunshan, vice president of the Golden Resources Mall. 'We don't think we can just copy the format from the U.S.' In Dongguan, the developers of the South China Mall say they traveled around the world for two years in search of the right model. The result is a $400 million fantasy land: 150 acres of palm-tree-lined shopping plazas, theme parks, hotels, water fountains, pyramids, bridges and giant windmills. Trying to exceed even some of the over-the-top casino extravaganzas in Las Vegas, it has a 1.3-mile artificial river circling the complex, which includes districts modeled on the world's seven 'famous water cities,' and an 85-foot replica of the Arc de Triomphe. 'We have outstanding architecture from around the world,' Tong Rui, vice chief executive at Sanyuan Yinhui Investment and Development, the mall's developer, said as he toured a section modeled on Paris. 'You can't see this architecture anywhere else in shopping malls.' Hu Guirong, the man behind the development, made his fortune selling noodles and biscuits in China. His aides say he built his mall in Dongguan, a fast-growing city whose population is estimated as high as eight million, with one of the highest car-to-household ratios in the country, because it is situated at a crossroads of two bustling South China metropolises, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. 'We wanted to do something groundbreaking,' Mr. Tong said, referring to his boss. 'We wanted to leave our mark on history.' But just to keep a seven-million-square-foot shopping center from looking deserted, some retailing specialists say, requires 50,000 to 70,000 visitors a day. Officials of the South China Mall say they will easily surpass those figures. But before the mall is fully open, the Triple Five Group is working to reclaim the world title, with three megamalls in the planning stages that will expand its operations from its base in North America into China. Two of them, the Mall of China and the Triple Five Wenzhou Mall, are each projected to be 10 million square feet. 'You'll see,' Mr. Ghermezian of Triple Five said. 'We are also expanding the Mall of America. There's going to be a Phase 2.'

Subject: Who are the Riskier Mortgage Holders
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 21:20:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We really would like to know who the buyers of the riskier mortgages are. These mortgages are not being extended by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, but then by whom?

Subject: Long and Short Term Interest Rates
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 21:13:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Imagine, the long term Treasury yield is 4.04%. Short term interest rates rise, long term rates fall, the spread betwwen yield grows less and less. No matter what central banks are doing, this bond market is astonishing. Investors are telling us there will be no general price pressure for years to come, no inflation pressure at all. Astonishing, but since the bond market is a better guide to the economy than the stock market, I pay attention.

Subject: The Euro has Weakened
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 22:03:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Likely the French are going to vote against the European Constitution, and this alone could keep the Euro weak for quite some time.

Subject: Re: The Euro has Weakened
From: Pancho Villa
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, May 25, 2005 at 09:54:30 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Absolutely Terri

Subject: No Degree and No Way Back
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 19:31:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/24/national/class/BLUECOLLAR-FINAL.html No Degree, and No Way Back to the Middle By TIMOTHY EGAN SPOKANE, Wash. - Over the course of his adult life, Jeff Martinelli has married three women and buried one of them, a cancer victim. He had a son and has watched him raise a child of his own. Through it all, one thing was constant: a factory job that was his ticket to the middle class. It was not until that job disappeared, and he tried to find something - anything - to keep him close to the security of his former life that Mr. Martinelli came to an abrupt realization about the fate of a working man with no college degree in 21st-century America. He has skills developed operating heavy machinery, laboring over a stew of molten bauxite at Kaiser Aluminum, once one of the best jobs in this city of 200,000. His health is fine. He has no shortage of ambition. But the world has changed for people like Mr. Martinelli. 'For a guy like me, with no college, it's become pretty bleak out there,' said Mr. Martinelli, who is 50 and deals with life's curves with a resigned shrug. His son, Caleb, already knows what it is like out there. Since high school, Caleb has had six jobs, none very promising. Now 28, he may never reach the middle class, he said. But for his father and others of a generation that could count on a comfortable life without a degree, the fall out of the middle class has come as a shock. They had been frozen in another age, a time when Kaiser factory workers could buy new cars, take decent vacations and enjoy full health care benefits. They have seen factory gates close and not reopen. They have taken retraining classes for jobs that pay half their old wages. And as they hustle around for work, they have been constantly reminded of the one thing that stands out on their résumés: the education that ended with a high school diploma. It is not just that the American economy has shed six million manufacturing jobs over the last three decades; it is that the market value of those put out of work, people like Jeff Martinelli, has declined considerably over their lifetimes, opening a gap that has left millions of blue-collar workers at the margins of the middle class. And the changes go beyond the factory floor. Mark McClellan worked his way up from the Kaiser furnaces to management. He did it by taking extra shifts and learning everything he could about the aluminum business. Still, in 2001, when Kaiser closed, Mr. McClellan discovered that the job market did not value his factory skills nearly as much as it did four years of college. He had the experience, built over a lifetime, but no degree. And for that, he said, he was marked. He still lives in a grand house in one of the nicest parts of town, and he drives a big white Jeep. But they are a facade. 'I may look middle class,' said Mr. McClellan, who is 45, with a square, honest face and a barrel chest. 'But I'm not. My boat is sinking fast.' By the time these two Kaiser men were forced out of work, a man in his 50's with a college degree could expect to earn 81 percent more than a man of the same age with just a high school diploma. When they had started work, the gap was only 52 percent. Other studies show different numbers, but the same trend - a big disparity that opened over their lifetimes. Mr. Martinelli refuses to feel sorry for himself. He has a job in pest control now, killing ants and spiders at people's homes, making barely half the money he made at the Kaiser smelter, where a worker with his experience would make about $60,000 a year in wages and benefits. 'At least I have a job,' he said. 'Some of the guys I worked with have still not found anything. A couple of guys lost their houses.' Mr. Martinelli and other former factory workers say that, over time, they have come to fear that the fall out of the middle class could be permanent. Their new lives - the frustrating job interviews, the bills that arrive with red warning letters on the outside - are consequences of a decision made at age 18. The management veteran, Mr. McClellan, was a doctor's son, just out of high school, when he decided he did not need to go much farther than the big factory at the edge of town. He thought about going to college. But when he got on at Kaiser, he felt he had arrived. His father, a general practitioner now dead, gave him his blessing, even encouraged him in the choice, Mr. McClellan said. At the time, the decision to skip college was not that unusual, even for a child of the middle class. Despite Mr. McClellan's lack of skills or education beyond the 12th grade, there was good reason to believe that the aluminum factory could get him into middle-class security quicker than a bachelor's degree could, he said. By 22, he was a group foreman. By 28, a supervisor. By 32, he was in management. Before his 40th birthday, Mr. McClellan hit his earnings peak, making $100,000 with bonuses. Friends of his, people with college degrees, were not earning close to that, Mr. McClellan said. 'I had a house with a swimming pool, new cars,' he said. 'My wife never had to work. I was right in the middle of middle-class America and I knew it and I loved it.' If anything, the union man, Mr. Martinelli, appreciated the middle-class life even more, because of the distance he had traveled to get there. He remembers his stomach growling at night as a child, the humiliation of welfare, hauling groceries home through the snow on a little cart because the family had no car. 'I was ashamed,' he said. He was a C student without much of a future, just out of high school, when he got his break: the job on the Kaiser factory floor. Inside, it was long shifts around hot furnaces. Outside, he was a prince of Spokane. College students worked inside the factory in the summer, and some never went back to school. 'You knew people leaving here for college would sometimes get better jobs, but you had a good job, so it was fine,' said Mike Lacy, a close friend of Mr. Martinelli and a co-worker at Kaiser. The job lasted just short of 30 years. Kaiser, debt-ridden after a series of failed management initiatives and a long strike, closed the plant in 2001 and sold the factory carcass for salvage. Mr. McClellan has yet to find work, living off his dwindling savings and investments from his years at Kaiser, though he continues with plans to open his own car wash. He pays $900 a month for a basic health insurance policy - vital to keep his wife, Vicky, who has a rare brain disease, alive. He pays an additional $500 a month for her medications. He is both husband and nurse. 'Am I scared just a little bit?' he said. 'Yeah, I am.' He has vowed that his son David will never do the kind of second-guessing that he is. Even at 16, David knows what he wants to do: go to college and study medicine. He said his father, whom he has seen struggle to balance the tasks of home nurse with trying to pay the bills, had grown heroic in his eyes. He said he would not make the same choice his father did 27 years earlier. 'There's nothing like the Kaiser plant around here anymore,' he said. Mr. McClellan agrees. He is firm in one conclusion, having risen from the factory floor only to be knocked down: 'There is no working up anymore.'

Subject: 85% not 90%
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 15:18:53 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
From Business Week: Commentary: Why The Greenspan Fix Didn't Work Slower-than-expected wage growth and soaring inequality have wreaked havoc One of the more puzzling questions about the debate over Social Security is why we're even having it again. After all, everyone thought the problem had been fixed in 1983 by the commission headed by Alan Greenspan, who went on to become chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. At the time, the youngest baby boomers were 19. So all of the experts were fully aware of the demographic statistics now cited by President George W. Bush as the root cause of Social Security's shortfall: that the ratio of workers to retirees would plunge from 16 to 1 to 2 to 1 when the last boomers retire decades hence. To eliminate the deficit this would create, the commission suggested hiking the Social Security payroll tax and lifting the retirement age to 67 by 2026. Congress promptly passed legislation doing just that, and President Ronald Reagan signed it. A new study sheds light on what happened since 1983 to bring back the shortfall, which is projected to be $4 trillion over the next 75 years. Two major economic shifts occurred that Greenspan's commission didn't anticipate: The growth of average U.S. wages slowed, and income inequality soared. Together these trends explain 75% of the reemergence of Social Security's long-term deficit, according to a paper by L. Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute in Washington. The upshot: Democrats and Republicans alike may be trying to solve the wrong problem. Rather than focusing on how many workers will be around to support retired boomers, some experts think the logical response is to recapture the revenue lost as rising inequality lifted a greater share of aggregate U.S. wages out of the reach of the 12.4% Social Security payroll tax. This year the taxable income level has been set at $90,000 a year. But the unanticipated spurt in inequality pushed more Americans over that amount. Because Social Security has forgone this extra revenue, it now taxes only 85% of collective payroll earnings, not the 90% that Greenspan and the commission had intended it to. If Congress put the aggregate taxable income level back to 90%, it would eliminate fully 40% of the deficit (or 75% under the smaller shortfall projected by the Congressional Budget Office). The progressive benefit cuts Bush endorsed recently would also remedy the problem, though they may be overly broad, sweeping in even those making as little as $25,000 a year. True, taxing higher incomes would be painful to big earners. A 90% level would put individual taxable income as high as $140,000 a year today. So anyone making that much or more would be on the hook for an extra $3,100 in annual Social Security taxes, as would their employers. The hit to their wallets could hurt small-business owners, possibly dampening job creation, warns David C. John, a research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation who supports Bush's private accounts. Still, high earners would also get higher Social Security benefits when they retire. Liberal economists also point out that if Greenspan's design had worked, affluent Americans would have been paying at the higher level for two decades anyway. 'It would be nice to reverse inequality, but meanwhile it makes a lot of sense to restore the tax cap,' says Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic & Policy Research in Washington. No one can blame Greenspan for not anticipating the return of inequality to levels not seen since the Great Depression. Still, his commission's fix barely lasted a year. By 1984, Social Security had slipped back into deficit, where it has remained ever since. What happened? The program's cash intake has been caught in a crunch caused by the interaction of slower average wage growth and heightened income inequality, says Bivens. Every year the Social Security Administration (SSA) adjusts the taxable wage level in tandem with the growth in the average U.S. wage base. So if average payroll growth slows, the annual adjustment in the wage cap does, too -- which is what has happened in the past 20 years. The Greenspan commission assumed that wages would grow at an average long-run pace of 1.5% a year. Today the SSA's Office of the Actuary has chopped its assumption to 1.1%, which compounds to a dramatic slowdown over 75 years. Escaping the System At the same time, rising inequality has lifted a greater share of wages above the taxable amount. So while sluggish wage gains have slowed the increase in the cap, faster pay growth at the top has allowed a greater share of overall income to escape the system. 'No one anticipated this in 1983,' says SSA Chief Actuary Stephen C. Goss, who worked with the Greenspan commission as a young staffer in the actuary's office. Goss says that while his office sees the rise in inequality slowing a decade from now, the long-run trend isn't likely to ever reverse. So if nothing is done, the 85% of all wages taxed today will slip to 84%, says Goss -- and hover there for decades to come. Seen in this light, Social Security's long-run problems seem more fixable. In fact, they may partly fix themselves: The boom of the late 1990s lifted average payroll growth back up to 1.4% a year since 1995. If Congress decided to restore the taxable wage level to 90%, it wouldn't make sense to try to recapture all the billions Social Security lost as the cap sank over the past 20 years; that would entail impractical moves such as retroactive taxes. But it could alter the formula for future years by linking it to a fixed share of payrolls. Even if high earners are given extra benefit payouts, the additional tax raised still would plug 40% of the long-run deficit because every extra dollar of Social Security tax results in less than a dollar of additional retirement benefits. A look back at the Greenspan commission shows that Social Security's problems are economic, not demographic. From this standpoint, private accounts that cut benefits for middle-class Americans don't address the real issue. In debating how to fix the system, we first need to understand what's broken.

Subject: Sugar Cane As Fuel: Brazil
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 14:00:48 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/24/business/worldbusiness/24sugar.html?pagewanted=all In Brazil, Sugar Cane Growers Become Fuel Farmers By TODD BENSON CATANDUVA, Brazil - Not long ago, residents of this lush cane-growing region in southern Brazil needed to keep a close eye on the price of sugar in world markets to know if the local farmers were hiring or firing. These days, however, most people in this small farming town seem more preoccupied with the price of oil. And with good reason. Ever since global oil prices started their staggering climb early last year, demand for inexpensive alternative fuels like cane-based ethanol has skyrocketed, helping to line the pockets of Brazilian cane farmers while also making them less vulnerable to the swings of the sugar market. 'Ethanol is on its way to becoming a commodity just like oil, and the price of oil is one of the main reasons why,' said José Fernandes Rio, a director at Usina Cerradinho, one of eight sugar mills and ethanol distilleries scattered around Catanduva, which is spending heavily to increase production. The growing demand for ethanol - or alcohol, as most Brazilians call it - is fueling an investment boom in Brazil's sugar cane industry not seen since the oil crisis of the 1970's. Back then, the country's military dictatorship sought to reduce dependence on costly foreign oil by offering lavish subsidies and tax breaks to sugar millers to refine cane into ethanol, while also financing the construction of a nationwide distribution network for the fuel. Though oil jitters are once again helping to drive the current wave of investment in Brazil's sugar industry, this time the government is not picking up the bill. Flush with cash from a recovery in global sugar prices in recent years, many millers are spending their own money and borrowing from banks to increase production and upgrade port terminals, mills and distilleries to improve service to foreign markets. According to a recent survey by ProCana, a research group in Ribeirão Preto that tracks the sugar and ethanol industry, 12.5 billion reais ($5.1 billion) has already been earmarked for 40 new mills and distilleries over the next five years. Most of that money will be spent here in western São Paulo State, a region that is already home to dozens of sugar mills, generating close to 100,000 jobs in an industry that employs more than a million people. 'Of all the different investment waves that the industry has had, this is clearly the most solid one of all,' said Maurílio Biagi Filho, an executive at CrystalSev, a large sugar and ethanol conglomerate that is putting the finishing touches on a $10 million ethanol terminal at the port of Santos. 'People have money to invest, and both domestic and external demand is on the rise,' added Mr. Biagi, whose family has been in the sugar business since 1920. 'All the ingredients are there.' Not long ago, ethanol's future did not look so bright. In the heyday of the government's pro-alcohol campaign in the mid-1980's, ethanol-only cars accounted for almost 90 percent of new-auto sales in Brazil. But domestic ethanol consumption started declining steadily in 1990, when a poor cane harvest and high sugar prices caused an alcohol shortage that enraged drivers, prompting many to switch back to cars powered by gasoline. Then, three years ago, Volkswagen began selling cars in Brazil that run on either gasoline or ethanol, or any combination of the two. Lured by the low cost of alcohol - it sells for almost half the price of gasoline - Brazilians have been buying these so-called flex-fuel cars in droves, helping to revive the domestic ethanol market. Today, all major automakers in Brazil offer these hybrid vehicles, which now represent 33 percent of new-car sales, a figure that some analysts predict could reach 80 percent by the end of next year. Thanks to the popularity of flex-fuel engines, domestic ethanol consumption is expected to jump 50 percent in the next five years, meaning that a growing percentage of the country's annual cane crop will be used to make fuel. This season, for example, a record 57 percent of the harvest is expected to go to ethanol production, up from less than half in recent years, according to Datagro, a sugar and ethanol consulting firm based in São Paulo. 'People used to say that our only chance to sell more ethanol was to increase exports,' said Eduardo Pereira de Carvalho, president of Unica, the country's largest association of sugar and ethanol producers. 'That changed overnight with flex-fuel cars.' Because no other country has an ethanol distribution network as extensive as Brazil's, it is unlikely that flex-fuel cars will become an international trend any time soon. But with world oil prices hovering around $50 a barrel, governments around the globe are looking for ways to replace gasoline with ethanol. Almost a dozen countries, including Canada, Sweden and the United States, have already begun blending ethanol with gasoline, a practice that has been mandatory in Brazil for years. This helps keep a lid on prices at the pump while also reducing fuel emissions, a requirement for nations that signed environmental treaties like the Kyoto Protocol. Other countries, like Australia and Thailand, are turning to Brazil for help to develop their own ethanol industries to feed demand for affordable energy in Asia, especially from China. India, the world's No. 2 sugar producer after Brazil, is also scrambling to spread the use of ethanol to reduce its reliance on foreign oil as its auto fleet expands along with its middle class. For now, Brazil, with its low production costs, plentiful land and well-established ethanol industry, is benefiting the most. Last year alone, for instance, its ethanol exports tripled to almost $500 million as oil prices soared, with the United States and India topping the list of importers. And as pressure mounts on the European Union to comply with the World Trade Organization's order that it do away with sugar subsidies, making sugar production less profitable there, more foreign sugar producers and trading houses are likely to set their sights on Brazil to keep their businesses alive. Theo Spettman, chief executive of Südzucker of Germany, Europe's biggest sugar producer, said at a seminar this month in São Paulo that the company was looking for investment opportunities in Brazil. If it takes the plunge, Südzucker will follow in the footsteps of French companies like Louis Dreyfus, Tereos and Sucden. All set up shop in Brazil in recent years. 'The big players in the sugar industry in Europe are not going to stop being big just because their subsidies are going to end,' said Josias Messias, president of ProCana, the research group that studies sugar and ethanol. 'They know they're going to have to invest here.'

Subject: The Long-Term Unemployed
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 12:34:21 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/24/business/24jobs.html?pagewanted=all The New Profile of the Long-Term Unemployed By LOUIS UCHITELLE After three years of unemployment, Allen Gruenhut finally landed a job as director of human resources for a company in the stone business on Long Island. His age, 53, worked against him in his long hunt for work, he contends, and so did the six-figure salary he earned at his last job, in banking. 'They would not take me seriously at job interviews when I said I would be happy with a lower salary,' Mr. Gruenhut said. Jackie Ellenwood, 31, is still without a job. She worked for three travel agencies over 13 years, until her last job, in Allen Park, Mich., ended in a layoff nine months ago. The industry is shrinking in response to more Internet bookings and cutbacks in corporate travel so Ms. Ellenwood is looking for work elsewhere and studying to become a nurse, confident that health care will continue to expand in an aging America. 'I'm going to stick to my nursing courses,' Ms. Ellenwood said, 'even if I get a job.' The experiences of Mr. Gruenhut and Ms. Ellenwood help to explain why many of the nation's unemployed are still struggling to get back to work. Not since World War II has long-term joblessness - the percentage of the unemployed out of work for six months or more - been so high for so long after a recession has ended. The current trouble falls most heavily on people trapped by the shifting sands of the economy. Today, the unemployment rate is relatively low at 5.2 percent and overall hiring has started to pick up again, particularly for younger workers coming out of college and professional schools. But the presence of middle-aged women and better educated white-collar workers among the long-term unemployed has increased. 'There are just not new jobs being created in the things these people did before,' said Andrew Stettner, a policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project and co-author of a study of long-term unemployment. 'We are firing fewer people than we did in 2001 and 2002, but we are not hiring many people either, and that cuts off the exit route out of unemployment.' At the same time, the incidence of long-term unemployment among the usual victims of earlier eras - less educated blue-collar workers who often lost their jobs in production cutbacks - has fallen. Several factors seem to be contributing to the rise in long-term unemployment. The swelling cost of company-paid health insurance is 'inducing business to be less aggressive in its hiring,' said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Economy.com, a research group based outside Philadelphia. The baby boomer bulge working its way through the labor force also plays a role; as this large group of workers ages it becomes harder for some who lose their jobs to find new work suited to their skills. And the bursting of the high-tech bubble stranded thousands of workers who are finding it difficult to shift quickly to other fields. While job creation has accelerated lately, to an average of 240,000 additional jobs a month since February, it remains well below the pace of previous recoveries. 'It looks like employers are very hesitant about the future of the economy,' said Lawrence F. Katz, a labor economist at Harvard. 'It may be that we will fall into another weak economic period before we get a good recovery and really robust hiring.' After World War II, when traditional industries dominated the economy, the usual pattern was for long-term unemployment to surge during recessions and die away quickly as recoveries took hold. That changed during the early 1990's and is even more evident in the current recovery, which began in November 2001. Rather than subside as growth resumed, long-term unemployment as a share of total joblessness continued to rise, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It peaked 17 months ago at 23.3 percent and has only gradually tapered off since then, to 21.2 percent in April. Structural changes in the economy and productivity improvements, reflecting the ability of companies to achieve higher output with fewer or the same number of workers, mean that even growing businesses no longer need to dip as much into the pool of displaced workers. For example, Toyota Motors of North America, whose sales are rising more rapidly than other automakers in the United States, is holding back on hiring although its plants are operating flat-out. Its payroll, said Dennis Cuneo, a senior vice president, has grown by only 600 jobs this year - all of them at newly opened plants - to a total of just over 32,000 employees. Existing factories continue on two shifts a day. Overtime and reconfigured work schedules help to squeeze out more production, without adding third shifts and the hiring that the additional shifts would require. 'We are reluctant to bring people on immediately,' Mr. Cuneo said. 'We are going to wait and see what we can still get from improvements in productivity. If the demand is sustained, there will come a point where you have to add a shift.' Other concerns play a role in the reluctance to hire, which in addition to driving up the long-term unemployment rate, drives down the number of people willing to actively seek a job and thus participate in the labor force. Sixty-six percent of the working age population was in the labor force in April, down from 66.7 percent at the start of the recovery. That is 1.6 million missing people, enough to raise the unemployment rate to 6.2 percent from its present 5.2 percent - if they all showed up. Many of those who have stayed in the labor force, seeking work, may be people who were laid off for a long time before they were willing to accept a new job that pays less. Employers, on the other hand, are reluctant to hire those who once earned a higher salary. The fear is they will shift to better jobs at the first opportunity. That is the story of Mr. Gruenhut, who earned a six-figure salary as senior vice president for human resources at Crédit Agricole Indosuez in New York, until his job there ended in 2002. In subsequent job interviews, Mr. Gruenhut said: 'They thought that even though I said I would be happy with a lower salary, I would be out the door as soon as there was an uptick in the job market. That happened at least a dozen times. I couldn't convince them.' Mr. Gruenhut, who has an M.B.A. from New York University and lives in East Meadow, spent 30 years in banking. But the 'implosion in financial services,' as he puts it, dried up jobs, forcing him to look elsewhere. As he branched out, his age worked against him. 'I did not get face time for plum jobs,' he said. And when he did get interviews, his weight sometimes worked against him. Finally, an acquaintance told him about an opening for a chief of human resources at the Innovative Companies, which is based in Hauppauge and sells marble and granite for construction. He clicked with the chief executive, Mr. Gruenhut said, and he went to work at a six-figure salary that was 'considerably lower' than the one he had earned at Crédit Agricole. By that time, he had lost 46 pounds, to just under 200. 'If you think about it,' Mr. Gruenhut said, 'if you have age and over-weight and silver hair, which people were telling me to dye, those are blockades to landing the job that you want.' Ms. Ellenwood had none of these issues, nor Mr. Gruenhut's education. Right after graduating from high school, in 1992, she went to work for a travel agency, booking hotel reservations and airline tickets for corporate clients. By the time she lost her most recent job, at GET Travel last August, she was earning $670 a week. She spent months trying to land similar work at another agency without success. 'Until the spring of 2004,' she said, 'we were very busy. It was really stressful, call after call, and then the calls went down to pretty much nothing. We would sit in the office for an hour or two without the phone ringing.' Her unemployment benefits ran out after six months, but she is living in Dearborn with her fiancé, an employed engineer, and that has given her the means to pursue a nursing degree at a community college. While she studies, she hunts for work. 'My bottom line is that I don't want to work in fast food,' she said. But even that vow could be broken, she added, if that is finally necessary 'to pay the bills.'

Subject: Bolivia and Natural Resources
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 11:53:49 (EDT)
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Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/23/international/americas/23bolivia.html Bolivia Epitomizes Fight for Natural Resources By JUAN FORERO LA PAZ, Bolivia - The struggle over globalization and who controls natural resources is being waged across Latin America, but the battle lines are no sharper anywhere than here in Bolivia, where a potent confederation of protesters plans a march on Monday to demand more state control of energy resources. Political analysts say the march - combined with a work stoppage and an Indian-style town hall meeting in a La Paz plaza - could further weaken the already debilitated government of President Carlos Mesa. It was just such a protest over energy policy that forced President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada from office in October 2003. Now, with Mr. Mesa politically incapacitated and Congress thoroughly discredited because it is seen as corrupt, protesters have become emboldened, with some calling for the outright expropriation of private gas installations operated by such energy giants as British Gas, Repsol-YPF of Spain and Petrobras of Brazil. Such demands have been gathering force, and they underscore the increasingly deep divisions in this Andean country, which despite its isolation has been at the forefront of a powerful backlash against market overhaul in Latin America. 'I think it's the most polarized the country has been in a long time,' said Jim Shultz, director of the Democracy Center in Cochabamba, which studies the effects of globalization on Bolivia. 'In October 2003, the issue was more volatile, but it was more volatile because it was basically everybody against the government. This isn't everybody against the government. This is a situation where Bolivia is split three or four different ways.' On one side, there are Bolivians like Carlos Alberto López, a former vice minister of energy who was educated at Harvard and the London School of Economics. Mr. López, now a consultant for energy companies, contends that nationalizing the oil industry would be a disaster for the country. He said Bolivia should instead be taking advantage of the fact that it has Latin America's second largest gas reserves by attracting foreign investors with favorable terms and then selling the gas to energy-hungry giants like Brazil or the United States. 'This was our last best hope for Bolivia's economy to grow,' Mr. López, 45, said in an interview. Across this capital, in a small office decorated with posters of the revolutionary icon Che Guevara, another protagonist expresses a sharply opposed viewpoint. 'The people have a right to nationalize and expropriate,' said Jaime Solares, 53, who started working at age 13, has a 10th grade education and heads the Bolivian Workers Central, the country's largest labor confederation. 'The people no longer believe in neo-liberalism.' The movement against market reforms appears to be gaining ground. Last week, Bolivia's Congress, under pressure from protesters, signed into law a new tax-and-royalty scheme so tough that energy experts say oil and gas multinationals will curtail investments. But groups like Mr. Solares's, with hundreds of thousands of members, say the law is too soft and want more restrictions. At the same time, a conservative, pro-globalization movement in the relatively prosperous eastern part of Bolivia is calling for a referendum on whether the region should have more autonomy, including control of its gas fields. Political analysts say the divisive crisis could lead to violence or, in time, the disintegration of a country whose state has little presence or control over its far-flung provinces. The discovery of large gas deposits in the late 1990's was supposed to have brought Bolivia more stability and wealth as the country's leaders tried to position Bolivia as a regional energy power. But the masses of poor indigenous people have never forgotten how the Spanish and a series of corrupt governments plundered the country's silver, tin and gold, leaving them more poverty-stricken than before. Flexing their political muscle, they have carried out protests that resulted in the departure of two foreign water companies and wreaked havoc with the government's energy plans. 'Those companies always come in with big promises, but all they do is rob,' said Rafael Condori, 18, an Aymara Indian who plans to take part in the protest on Monday. Such words could not be more troubling to Juan Carlos Iturri, an economist who said that many protesters are driven by slogans and do not take into account Bolivia's economic realities. 'Nationalization is not real and it cannot be sustained in time,' he said. 'They want a horse and a battle and nothing sounds better than saying, 'Die, transnationals.' ' But Bolivia's history seems to signal that the protests are not likely to fade away. A major revolution in 1952 led to nationalization of the largest tin mines, and charismatic leaders have revived the movement in recent years. Eduardo Gamarra, the Bolivian-born director of Latin American studies at Florida International University in Miami, referred to that history, saying in an interview, 'Bolivia is one of the few places in the world where you have a firm belief that nationalizing key industries is the way to go.'

Subject: Panama Fights for Its Forests
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 11:50:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/24/science/earth/24pana.html?pagewanted=all To Save Its Canal, Panama Fights for Its Forests By CORNELIA DEAN MIRAFLORES, Panama - A freighter slides slowly into the first of the Miraflores Locks, red, orange and white cargo containers stacked six or seven high on its deck. Gates swing shut and the lock begins to drain, water flowing into the lock below. A few minutes later, when the water levels are equal, gates at the other end of the lock swing open, and the ship moves into the next chamber. Once again, water drains, gates open and the ship and its tons of cargo head out to the Pacific Ocean. Something else is moving, too - about 26 million gallons of water, the amount that drains from the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks each time a ship goes through them to or from the Pacific. The same amount drains into the Atlantic when ships pass through the Gatún Locks on the other side of the isthmus. So each trip through the canal, or lockage, means 52 million gallons of water. On a busy day, there may be as many as 40 lockages. The water comes from Gatún Lake, one of the largest artificial lakes in the world, created during construction of the canal. The canal depends on the lake and its water, and they in turn depend on the health of the surrounding watershed forest. But in the last few decades, half of it has been lost to logging and slash-and-burn agriculture. Panamanians know what will happen if they cannot maintain an adequate supply of water for the canal. In the drought winter of 1990-91, lack of water forced canal operators to curtail lockages to fewer than 30 a day, something no one here is eager to repeat. Although Panama City is a major financial center now, by some estimates the canal and its associated businesses still contribute 40 percent or more of the nation's economy. And if Panamanians vote to upgrade or expand the canal, an issue they are expected to confront in a referendum this fall, the reliability of Gatún Lake's water supply will be even more crucial. 'We need the water for the functioning of the canal,' Reyna Carrillo, a guide at Miraflores, recently told a group of visitors. 'Without the water, we would be the biggest ditch in the whole world.' The Panama Canal Authority and an array of scientists are working together to study Gatún Lake's hydrology, to restore its watershed and to teach the people who live there the importance of preserving it. Gatún Lake is fed chiefly by the Chagres River, which was dammed during the construction of the canal. It straddles the isthmus at the canal's highest elevation, and part of the canal runs through it. Water per se is not its problem. The Chagres drains a tropical jungle where it rains 10 feet or more each year - about three times as much as it rains in Seattle or New York, and in theory more than enough to keep the locks operating at capacity. But the rain does not fall steadily year-round. Most of it comes from May to December, in brief but intense downpours. An inch in an hour is ordinary, and six inches in a day is hardly unheard of. Rain falls so heavily in Panama that early canal builders described storms as turning the air to water. On forested slopes, much of this water soaks into the ground and feeds slowly into watershed streams and then into Gatún Lake. But deforested slopes cannot absorb heavy rains. Floods of water run off into the lake, overflow Gatún Dam and run out to sea - useless for lockage. Meanwhile, eroded sediment ends up on the lake bottom, reducing its storage capacity. One consequence is apparent to those who traverse the Gatún Lake portion of the canal. Between the town of Gamboa and Barro Colorado Island, a dredge anchored offshore drills into the lake bottom, sucking up excess sediment and pumping it through long pipes to shore. The resulting turbulence fills the lake with so much silt that people nearby who rely on it for drinking water have to filter it or use bottled water instead. But the dredging helps maintain the lake's capacity to store water. Columbus and his men were the first Europeans to see the towering forests of the Chagres River basin, with their 1,500 species of trees, some of them growing more than 100 feet tall, and the howler monkeys and toucans and other creatures that inhabit them. Another Spanish seafarer, Juan Corzo Serna, wrote about them in 1524, according to Stanley Heckadon Moreno, a sociologist and research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. 'He is our first witness to the land,' Dr. Heckadon said. 'He describes it as a monumental forest.' Despite the building of a railroad across the isthmus in the 19th century, the completion of the canal in 1914 and the military buildups of World Wars I and II, the watershed forest was more or less intact until about 1950, Dr. Heckadon said in an interview. But by then the United States had built a highway across the isthmus, from Panama City north to Colón. 'Pretty soon we ended up with 3,000 kilometers of trails built by loggers and followed by cattlemen and slash-and-burn farmers,' Dr. Heckadon said. In the Chagres basin and in the watershed on the other side of the canal, thousands of acres fell to their machetes and chain saws. When the treaty turning the canal over to Panama was negotiated in the Carter administration, 'there was a belief 'now this area is ours, we can go in there,' ' said Luis A. Alvarado Kinkey, a hydrologist who is environmental division manager for the canal authority, known as A.C.P., its initials in Spanish. 'There was a lot of influx from the interior. They started cutting down forest to build pasture at an alarming rate.' Panamanians were such assiduous practitioners of slash-and-burn agriculture that some here began to joke bitterly that they must be born with machetes in their hands. Deforestation peaked in the 1980's, said Dr. Robert F. Stallard, a geologist at the Smithsonian research institute in Panama who studies the hydrology of the watershed. By 2000, when Dr. Heckadon and his colleagues completed a study using satellite imagery and ground surveys, they found 53 percent of the watershed forest had been lost. Today travelers who fly over the isthmus see a patchwork of forest and pasture. The Panamanian government first recruited Dr. Heckadon to examine the issue in the 1980's, when he formed a study group of scientists and technical experts to evaluate the health and future of the watershed. 'One of the main conclusions was the absolute national imperative to protect the surviving forests,' Dr. Heckadon said in an interview. At the urging of the study group, Eric Arturo Delvalle, then the country's president, established Chagres National Park, which covers about 250,000 acres or about a third of the canal watershed. 'I think on that day he bought the insurance policy on the Panama Canal,' Dr. Heckadon said. But things did not go well. Much of the 1980's was 'a lost time,' Dr. Heckadon said, when Panama was under the de facto control of Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega and deforestation continued. Even after the United States arrested General Noriega in 1990, conditions were initially unsettled and Chagres and smaller watershed parks were not adequately protected. But then things began to change. Dr. Heckadon, who became the nation's first environment minister, said one important step came when leading Panamanian bankers decided to stop financing cattle ranchers who cut down forest for pasture. 'That withdrew the oxygen of the fire of slash and burn,' he said. And with the canal turnover in 1999, government agencies acted again to expand protected watershed areas. Now, Mr. Alvarado says that only negligible amounts of watershed are lost each year to deforestation. But others say that official agencies do not have enough money or staff to patrol the parks as closely as they wish and that, as a result, logging and burning is continuing, even if on a smaller scale. 'With the chain saw these guys can do anything,' Dr. Heckadon said. 'They look at a mahogany tree and they cut it on the weekend, saw it in slabs, get it on someone's pickup. It's a problem.' Dr. Stallard said: 'There are constant threats on the park boundaries. There is always chipping at some border.' So the canal authority and other agencies have also begun community efforts to educate rural Panamanians about the importance of preserving the forest landscape. 'We now employ people the old canal would never imagine it would - social workers for example,' Mr. Alvarado said. 'We work with the communities. We work with the schools.' Meanwhile, efforts are also under way to restore damaged landscapes. A.C.P. has begun a program called the Native Species Reforestation Project - a cooperative arrangement with the Smithsonian, the Yale University School of Forestry, the International Development Center at the Kennedy School at Harvard and other universities and agencies to study ways to protect the canal watershed and restore its native vegetation. The scientists are learning as they go, because little is known about reforesting tropical rain forests, said Dr. Mark S. Ashton, a professor of forest ecology at Yale. Dr. Ashton said in an e-mail message that scientists hoped to restore the landscape in ways that protected the watershed, enhanced biodiversity and identified trees and other plants that could be grown and harvested sustainably, replacing slash-and-burn farming as a source of income. But the effort, known by its Spanish acronym, Prorena, is complicated by the presence of an invasive and persistent form of a grassy plant called wild sugar cane or paja blanca (Saccharum spontaneum). Dr. Stallard said biologists first spotted this grass in the canal area in 1978, and since then it has established itself in huge stands. The plant, apparently an immigrant from Asia, has tenacious roots that hold the soil, an advantage in preventing soil runoff. But it grows aggressively and crowds out potentially useful native plants. 'It might prevent erosion, but it does not have any other use,' Mr. Alvarado said. So the authorities here want to remove as much of it as they can. For many in Panama, the success of these and other efforts to protect the canal watershed means more than the money - $65,000 for an average toll - for ships passing through the canal. 'People came from all over the world to make this dream possible,' Ms. Carrillo tells visitors at the locks at Miraflores. But, she reminds them, 'Even when the Americans were here, if they had cut the forest we would have no canal today.'

Subject: Gidant and a Defibrillator Flaw
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 11:23:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/24/business/24heart.html?pagewanted=all Guidant Didn't Disclose a Flaw in Defibrillator for 3 Years By BARRY MEIER A medical device maker, the Guidant Corporation, did not tell doctors or patients for three years that a unit implanted in an estimated 24,000 people that is designed to shock a faltering heart contains a flaw that has caused a small number of those units to short-circuit and malfunction. The matter has come to light after the death of a 21-year-old college student from Minnesota, Joshua Oukrop, with a genetic heart disease. Guidant acknowledges that his device, known as a defibrillator, short-circuited. The young man was in Moab, Utah, on a spring break bicycling trip in March with his girlfriend when he complained of fatigue. He then fell to the ground and died of cardiac arrest. Guidant subsequently told his doctors that it was aware of 25 other cases in which the defibrillator, a Ventak Prizm 2 Model 1861, had been affected by the same flaw. Guidant said it had changed its manufacturing processes three years ago to fix the problem. The physicians say that had they known earlier, they would have replaced the unit in their patient because he was at high risk of sudden death. His death is the only one known. A defibrillator is surgically implanted in the chest under the skin. It sends out an electrical charge to try to shock a chaotically beating heart back into normal rhythm. In interviews in recent days, a top Guidant executive, Dr. Joseph M. Smith, said that the company had not seen a compelling reason to issue an alert to physicians about the defibrillators because the failure rate was very low and replacing the devices might pose greater patient risks. But late yesterday, when told that The New York Times was preparing an article about the device, the company issued an advisory to doctors about it. Guidant is recommending that the unit not be replaced because of the electrical problem. The episode highlights an important issue: Doctors and patients are not always told when a medical device maker has data indicating that its product has a flaw that, while rare, poses potential dangers. Also, companies are not required to report immediately all safety modifications to the Food and Drug Administration. In February another defibrillator maker, Medtronic Inc., notified doctors that the battery used in one of its models was draining far faster than expected. At that time, the company had received nine reports among 87,000 affected units, an incidence of failure of 0.01 percent, which is lower than the figure for the affected Guidant defibrillators, which is 0.07 percent, based on 37,000 units manufactured before the modification. The Medtronic devices have not been associated with a death or an injury. However, in its advisory to doctors, Medtronic said its testing indicated that the problem could worsen over time and affect 0.2 percent to 1.5 percent of its units. The Guidant problem, Dr. Smith said, has remained constant over time. One cardiologist said that Medtronic officials told him that physicians had replaced over 11,000 of the devices; a company spokeswoman said the company planned to release data today. Dr. William H. Maisel, who has studied how doctors respond to device alerts, said that companies considering an alert face competing concerns over the cost of replacement versus harm to their reputations. As a result, Dr. Maisel, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said there was the potential for a 'huge conflict of interest.' The Guidant executive, Dr. Smith, who is the chief medical officer of Guidant's cardiac rhythm management division, rejected any suggestion that financial or liability concerns had influenced the company's decision. He said that the Model 1861 was among the most reliable defibrillators available, adding that Guidant believed that it would cause more harm than good by publicizing the issue because replacement defibrillators might not perform as well and because surgery also posed risks. While fatalities during defibrillator implantation are extremely rare, the procedure poses an infection rate of about 1 percent. 'We choose to extraordinarily communicate when we have a product that does not live up to our expectations,' Dr. Smith said. He added that issues that could improve patient outcomes would also warrant an alert to doctors. 'In this case, neither condition was met,' he said. Guidant, which is based in Indianapolis, is one of the largest makers of medical devices, with $3.8 billion in sales last year, almost half of that coming from implantable defibrillators. In December, Johnson & Johnson announced it planned to buy Guidant in a deal worth $25.4 billion. Defibrillators need to be replaced every five or six years because their batteries drain. Implanted defibrillators are among the fastest-growing group of medical devices; this year alone, more than 200,000 patients are expected to get one. In 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney received one made by Medtronic. A defibrillator can cost up to $25,000 and hospital and doctor costs can run another $15,000. In interviews, doctors in Minnesota who treated Joshua Oukrop said they were angered by Guidant's decision not to notify physicians because they said the company had received enough reports about the flaw to establish a pattern and because high-risk patients could suffer potentially catastrophic results. Dr. Barry J. Maron of Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis said that Dr. Smith was simply using numbers to support his stance. 'It is a statistical argument that has little to do with real people,' Dr. Maron said. He also said that the numbers reported to Guidant might understate the situation because product problems could go undetected or might not be reported. The short circuit can occur when the device builds a charge to deliver the type of high-energy shock needed in emergency situations. In three cases, when doctors intentionally induced abnormal heart rhythms during routine checkups, the Guidant device failed to work, forcing doctors to rescue those patients by jolting them with the type of external defibrillator used in emergency rooms. All the electrical malfunctions involving the particular model occurred in units produced during a two-year period before mid-2002, when the company fixed the flaw. The problem has not happened in any devices made since. F.D.A. regulations permit companies to inform the agency in two different ways about a manufacturing modification to improve safety, either while the company is making it or later, when a device maker files its annual report with the agency. A Guidant spokeswoman, Annette Ruzicka, said that it reported the November 2002 change as part of an annual report submitted to the F.D.A. in August 2003. As reports of individual problems came in, Guidant filed them with the F.D.A. Dr. Robert G. Hauser, also of Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, said he recently started alerting cardiologists about the Guidant unit through a database he maintains that collects data about defibrillator and pacemaker failures. He and Dr. Maron have also submitted an article about their patient's case to a medical journal. One of those contacted, Dr. David S. Cannom, who sits on Guidant's board of outside medical advisers, said in an interview that he believed that doctors should have all the facts. He said that while risks posed by the device were small enough to argue against replacement in many patients, that calculus could shift substantially for high-risk ones. 'At the end of the day, you have to come down on the side of full disclosure,' said Dr. Cannom, the director of cardiology at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles. Over all, implanted defibrillators have a good record of reliability and are credited with saving countless lives, but the Minnesota case appears to illustrate the consequences that can result when company officials decide not to directly alert doctors to a problem, even for reasons that they believe are justified. Joshua Oukrop suffered from a relatively common genetic disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which can cause abrupt cardiac arrest. One of his doctors, Dr. Maron, is an expert on the condition and a leading proponent of using implanted defibrillators to reduce deaths caused by the disease. Dr. Hauser, who was also involved in the young man's treatment, is a former chief executive of Cardiac Pacemakers Inc., one of five companies that was spun off by Eli Lilly in 1994 to form Guidant. Joshua's father, Lee Oukrop, said that when his son was 17, he began fainting and falling down at marching band practice or while playing softball. The heart disease had previously been diagnosed in an older son, Jacob, so Mr. Oukrop took Joshua to see Dr. Maron in 2001. The physician determined that the teenager's condition was severe, and an implant was soon performed. Mr. Oukrop, a millwright who lives in Grand Rapids, Minn., a small town about 80 miles west of Duluth, said that Dr. Maron had said 'that this was the fix and that Josh could live with this.' For over three years, Mr. Oukrop said, his son's life was normal. He attended college, where he was studying to be a teacher, and was an outdoor enthusiast who hiked, snowboarded and bicycled. Like other defibrillator users, he saw his doctors every three months so they could check the device. When Guidant inspected the device after Joshua's death, it found that the unit had short-circuited when it was charging up. Because the short circuit also destroyed the device's memory, it is not possible to know whether the failure occurred while Joshua Oukrop was in cardiac arrest or at some other point. 'There was evidence of a device malfunction,' said Dr. Smith, the Guidant executive. After hearing a presentation a few weeks ago by Dr. Smith about the device, Dr. Maron, the genetic heart disease expert, said he asked what Guidant planned to tell doctors. 'The answer was nothing,' Dr. Maron said. Dr. Smith, the Guidant executive, said the overall reliability rate of the Prizm 2 model exceeded company specifications both before and after the wiring fix. So far, Dr. Maron and Dr. Hauser have notified dozens of their patients who got the Guidant unit to discuss possibly replacing it. Dr. Maron said that now that the physicians were aware of the problem they had to consider, besides patient safety, their own responsibilities and potential liability. Last week, Lee Oukrop, who has the same genetic heart disease as his sons and had the same Guidant device as Joshua, underwent a replacement procedure. He also said he was likely to hire a lawyer soon. 'Whoever made this decision at Guidant, I pray he doesn't have a son who this happens to,' Mr. Oukrop said.

Subject: China's Risk of Inflation
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 11:21:21 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/24/business/25cnd-oecd.html Report Says China's Currency Policy Poses Risk of Inflation By BRIAN CHILDS - International Herald Tribune PARIS - China's fixed exchange rate for its currency against the United States dollar is increasing the risk of inflation and overheating in Asia's second-largest economy, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned today. But the stimulus provided by China's economic expansion should continue to underpin strong growth in Asia, offsetting a slowdown in the United States and sagging confidence in much of Europe, the organization said in a report on the outlook for the global economy. The pegging of the yuan to the dollar has already resulted in a 3 percent drop this year in its effective exchange rate against the currencies of all China's trading partners, the O.E.C.D., a Paris-based think tank, said. In the United States, interest rate increases by the United States Federal Reserve appeared to have put the economy on track for a ``soft landing,' according to Jean-Philippe Cotis, the organization's chief economist. Monetary policy would have to tighten further, he said, ``but they are back on trend.' ``We see subdued recovery and underlying inflation slowing considerably,' Mr. Cotis said. Projections in the report showed United States growth slowing to a 3.3 percent rate in 2006 from 3.6 percent this year and 4.4 percent in 2004. The expected growth rate for this year was revised up from a 3.3 percent rate forecast in December. The report showed United States inflation dipping to 2.2 percent next year from 2.4 percent in 2005, in response to a tightening in short-term interest rates, measured in three-month deposit terms, to 4.9 percent by the fourth quarter of 2006 from 2.3 percent at the end of 2004. But for that to happen, the Federal Reserve, which early this month raised its benchmark by a quarter point to 3 percent in the latest of a series of upward moves, must tighten more, the report said. In contrast, facing flaccid growth in the major economies of the euro zone, the European Central Bank should cut rates, the organization said. Its latest forecasts showed growth in the euro area sagging to a 1.2 percent rate this year, revised down by more than half a percentage point from 1.9 percent projected in December, and recovering to no better that 2 percent in 2006. The report said that the yuan exchange rate, and the flood of textile exports from China after the ending of international textile quotas on Jan 1, will keep China's trade surplus expanding this year and next , it said. The current account, a broad measure of trade in goods and services, is likely to bring in net inflows of $100 billion in 2005 and $101 billion in 2006, after an inflow of $68.7 billion last year. ``The depreciation of the effective exchange rate has both accentuated inflationary pressures and driven actual inflation higher,' the report said. The Chinese government has tried to curb a real estate boom and other signs of overheating by a range of regulatory and administrative measures this year. Despite those efforts, ``the economy is accelerating again,' Mr. Cotis said in an interview on Monday. ``The problem is still to contain activity,' he said. Forecasts in the report showed China's gross domestic product growing at a 9 percent rate this year and accelerating to a 9.2 percent rate in 2006, with inflation picking up to a 4 percent rate this year and next from 3.9 percent last year and only 1.2 percent in 2003. Elsewhere in Asia, the report projected growth in Japan slowing to a 1.5 percent rate this year, down from 2.6 percent in 2004 and below the 2.1 percent rate forecast by the O.E.C.D. in December. The organization also said it expected Japan's consumer price deflation to continue into 2006. Still, Mr. Cotis said, Japan's economic state is ``fairly benign.' ``They went through a soft patch, but then there were strong exports and investment in the first quarter, ' he said. ``There is still some deflation, but we think that, with recovery, deflation will go away by the end of 2006. That's a bit delayed compared with earlier prognostications, but the forward-looking indicators are relatively good.' In particular, he said, a recent improvement in the job market, where employers are increasingly offering secure, long-term contracts, should lead to a recovery in consumer confidence.

Subject: Companies Recruiting New Graduates
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 11:19:34 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/24/business/24grads.html?pagewanted=all&position= Companies Recruiting New Graduates By EDUARDO PORTER Rebecca Palmer, who just graduated from Wichita State University, did not have to look for a job. The job found her. Last March, the Cessna Finance Corporation called her to offer a position as a sales administrator in its international division. 'It was very easy,' said Ms. Palmer, 23. 'They had three positions that opened up at the same time.' Just two years ago, even the best prospects coming out of college were accepting second-best job offers, if they were receiving any offers at all. But as tens of thousands of new graduates enter the labor market this month and next, corporate recruiters are snapping them up at a clip not seen since 2001 - before the cooling economy took a heavy toll on campus hiring. Companies expect to hire 13 percent more graduates than last year, according to a poll by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. And 85 percent of employers are offering higher initial salaries than last year. Two years ago, seniors were suffering through grueling rounds of interviews to land even a mediocre job. This year, students across a range of majors, from computer science to liberal arts, are hearing employers knocking on their doors. 'There's a level of competitiveness we hadn't seen in four years,' said John Campagnino, global head of recruiting for Accenture, a consulting firm. 'All of our competitors are out there going after the same students. It's rare if a student we make an offer to doesn't already have an offer from somewhere else.' The job market is not quite back to the free-wheeling days of the late 1990's, when fierce competition for talent from the dot-com economy spawned urban legends about brand new BMW's as sign-up bonuses. But 65 percent of employers plan to offer sign-up bonuses to their most promising recruits, up from 42 percent last year. For Tom Dharte, 22, who received his diploma from the University of Dayton on May 8, the challenging part about the job hunt was choosing among competing offers. 'I had interviews in New York, Chicago, Detroit and Cincinnati,' Mr. Dharte said. 'By December I had an offer in each of those cities.' In the end, he took a job as an analyst at Merrill Lynch's private equity unit in Princeton, N.J., where he did an internship last year. The job market was dreary for everybody in the last few years. But young college graduates, who benefited most from the hiring frenzy among online firms in the late 1990's, were hit particularly hard when the dot-com bubble burst, investment in technology collapsed and dozens of online ventures went under. By the end of last year, only 85.2 percent of 25- to 35-year-old college graduates had a job, down from 87.4 percent in 2000, according to an analysis of census data by Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute. Whereas average earnings of young people without a college degree declined by 0.8 percent from 2000 to 2004, to $13.38 an hour, wages of young college graduates fell 2.8 percent, to $22.41. Now, as the job market starts warming up across the country, demand for new college graduates is picking up, too. At Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., the number of employers visiting campus has increased 12 percent to 15 percent this year, said Timothy B. Luzader, director of the center for career opportunities. At the University of Dayton in Ohio, Greg Hayes, the executive director of career services, expects a 7 percent increase in the hiring of graduates this year. Marcia B. Harris, director of career services at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said that this year about 35 percent of graduating seniors had jobs awaiting them, up from 30 percent last year and about 15 percent in 2003. The Department of Labor does not break out statistics on the job status of young college graduates. But it does show that the unemployment rate of workers ages 20 to 24, the typical age at graduation, dropped 1.2 percentage points over the last two years, to 8.9 percent even as the total unemployment rate declined 0.8 percentage point, to 5.2 percent. Some professions are hotter than others. Accounting majors are benefiting after the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which forced corporate executives to take responsibility for the accuracy of their accounting. Mr. Hayes added that majors in fields related to national security, from computer science to engineering, are also having a good year. Even manufacturing companies, which for years have done nothing but shed workers, are picking up graduates. At Wichita State, where job prospects depend heavily on the aerospace companies nearby, Jill M. Pletcher, director of career services, said she was 'guardedly optimistic.' Prospects are improving noticeably all the way down to graduates with liberal arts degrees, who typically have the most difficult time finding a job. Starting salaries for liberal arts majors are expected to increase by 4 percent, after a decline of 1.4 percent last year, according to a survey by the college and employer association. Companies are even hiring some of the graduates they shunned in the lean years. Jonathan Narveson, 24, was lucky to have a job offer when he graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2003. It just was not the computer industry job he really wanted. He did about 25 interviews with 15 companies and ended up as a salesman for Newell Rubbermaid in Charlotte, N.C. But last year, with the labor market tauter, Mr. Narveson was able to align his career with his aspirations, taking a job as a consultant in the financial services operating unit of Accenture. These days, he happily wields the appropriate consulting firm lingo. 'From a career acceleration standpoint, this is a great steppingstone,' he said. After three high-strung years, Mr. Luzader at Purdue said, 'There seems to be less anxiety on the student grapevine about opportunities.' Interest in graduate study, a typical indicator of graduates' concerns over getting a job, has declined in some areas. For instance, the Law School Admission Council expects there will be 4.8 percent fewer applicants to law schools this year. Some graduates seem to be starting to feel comfortable again about navigating the job market, and life, at their own pace. Dennis A. DiTullio, who will graduate in June from Ohio State University, plans to work a couple of years at his fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta, teaching leadership courses at chapters around the country, before plunging into the job market. 'I want to move around a little bit; see the world before I plop down in my cube,' Mr. DiTullio said. 'I still get to be around college campuses. I don't have to wake up one day and suddenly mature a lot.'

Subject: The College Dropout Boom
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 10:10:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/24/national/class/EDUCATION-FINAL.html?hp=&pagewanted=all The College Dropout Boom By DAVID LEONHARDT CHILHOWIE, Va. - One of the biggest decisions Andy Blevins has ever made, and one of the few he now regrets, never seemed like much of a decision at all. It just felt like the natural thing to do. In the summer of 1995, he was moving boxes of soup cans, paper towels and dog food across the floor of a supermarket warehouse, one of the biggest buildings here in southwest Virginia. The heat was brutal. The job had sounded impossible when he arrived fresh off his first year of college, looking to make some summer money, still a skinny teenager with sandy blond hair and a narrow, freckled face. But hard work done well was something he understood, even if he was the first college boy in his family. Soon he was making bonuses on top of his $6.75 an hour, more money than either of his parents made. His girlfriend was around, and so were his hometown buddies. Andy acted more outgoing with them, more relaxed. People in Chilhowie noticed that. It was just about the perfect summer. So the thought crossed his mind: maybe it did not have to end. Maybe he would take a break from college and keep working. He had been getting C's and D's, and college never felt like home, anyway. 'I enjoyed working hard, getting the job done, getting a paycheck,' Mr. Blevins recalled. 'I just knew I didn't want to quit.' So he quit college instead, and with that, Andy Blevins joined one of the largest and fastest-growing groups of young adults in America. He became a college dropout, though nongraduate may be the more precise term. Many people like him plan to return to get their degrees, even if few actually do. Almost one in three Americans in their mid-20's now fall into this group, up from one in five in the late 1960's, when the Census Bureau began keeping such data. Most come from poor and working-class families. The phenomenon has been largely overlooked in the glare of positive news about the country's gains in education. Going to college has become the norm throughout most of the United States, even in many places where college was once considered an exotic destination - places like Chilhowie (pronounced chill-HOW-ee), an Appalachian hamlet with a simple brick downtown. At elite universities, classrooms are filled with women, blacks, Jews and Latinos, groups largely excluded two generations ago. The American system of higher learning seems to have become a great equalizer. In fact, though, colleges have come to reinforce many of the advantages of birth. On campuses that enroll poorer students, graduation rates are often low. And at institutions where nearly everyone graduates - small colleges like Colgate, major state institutions like the University of Colorado and elite private universities like Stanford - more students today come from the top of the nation's income ladder than they did two decades ago. Only 41 percent of low-income students entering a four-year college managed to graduate within five years, the Department of Education found in a study last year, but 66 percent of high-income students did. That gap had grown over recent years. 'We need to recognize that the most serious domestic problem in the United States today is the widening gap between the children of the rich and the children of the poor,' Lawrence H. Summers, the president of Harvard, said last year when announcing that Harvard would give full scholarships to all its lowest-income students. 'And education is the most powerful weapon we have to address that problem.' There is certainly much to celebrate about higher education today. Many more students from all classes are getting four-year degrees and reaping their benefits. But those broad gains mask the fact that poor and working-class students have nevertheless been falling behind; for them, not having a degree remains the norm. That loss of ground is all the more significant because a college education matters much more now than it once did. A bachelor's degree, not a year or two of courses, tends to determine a person's place in today's globalized, computerized economy. College graduates have received steady pay increases over the past two decades, while the pay of everyone else has risen little more than the rate of inflation. As a result, despite one of the great education explosions in modern history, economic mobility - moving from one income group to another over the course of a lifetime - has stopped rising, researchers say. Some recent studies suggest that it has declined over the last generation. [Click here for more information on income mobility.] Put another way, children seem to be following the paths of their parents more than they once did. Grades and test scores, rather than privilege, determine success today, but that success is largely being passed down from one generation to the next. A nation that believes that everyone should have a fair shake finds itself with a kind of inherited meritocracy. In this system, the students at the best colleges may be diverse - male and female and of various colors, religions and hometowns - but they tend to share an upper-middle-class upbringing. An old joke that Harvard's idea of diversity is putting a rich kid from California in the same room as a rich kid from New York is truer today than ever; Harvard has more students from California than it did in years past and just as big a share of upper-income students. Students like these remain in college because they can hardly imagine doing otherwise. Their parents, understanding the importance of a bachelor's degree, spent hours reading to them, researching school districts and making it clear to them that they simply must graduate from college. Andy Blevins says that he too knows the importance of a degree, but that he did not while growing up, and not even in his year at Radford University, 66 miles up the Interstate from Chilhowie. Ten years after trading college for the warehouse, Mr. Blevins, 29, spends his days at the same supermarket company. He has worked his way up to produce buyer, earning $35,000 a year with health benefits and a 401(k) plan. He is on a path typical for someone who attended college without getting a four-year degree. Men in their early 40's in this category made an average of $42,000 in 2000. Those with a four-year degree made $65,000. Still boyish-looking but no longer rail thin, Mr. Blevins says he has many reasons to be happy. He lives with his wife, Karla, and their year-old son, Lucas, in a small blue-and-yellow house at the end of a cul-de-sac in the middle of a stunningly picturesque Appalachian valley. He plays golf with some of the same friends who made him want to stay around Chilhowie. But he does think about what might have been, about what he could be doing if he had the degree. As it is, he always feels as if he is on thin ice. Were he to lose his job, he says, everything could slip away with it. What kind of job could a guy without a college degree get? One night, while talking to his wife about his life, he used the word 'trapped.' 'Looking back, I wish I had gotten that degree,' Mr. Blevins said in his soft-spoken lilt. 'Four years seemed like a thousand years then. But I wish I would have just put in my four years.' The Barriers Why so many low-income students fall from the college ranks is a question without a simple answer. Many high schools do a poor job of preparing teenagers for college. Many of the colleges where lower-income students tend to enroll have limited resources and offer a narrow range of majors, leaving some students disenchanted and unwilling to continue. Then there is the cost. Tuition bills scare some students from even applying and leave others with years of debt. To Mr. Blevins, like many other students of limited means, every week of going to classes seemed like another week of losing money - money that might have been made at a job. 'The system makes a false promise to students,' said John T. Casteen III, the president of the University of Virginia, himself the son of a Virginia shipyard worker. Colleges, Mr. Casteen said, present themselves as meritocracies in which academic ability and hard work are always rewarded. In fact, he said, many working-class students face obstacles they cannot overcome on their own. For much of his 15 years as Virginia's president, Mr. Casteen has focused on raising money and expanding the university, the most prestigious in the state. In the meantime, students with backgrounds like his have become ever scarcer on campus. The university's genteel nickname, the Cavaliers, and its aristocratic sword-crossed coat of arms seem appropriate today. No flagship state university has a smaller proportion of low-income students than Virginia. Just 8 percent of undergraduates last year came from families in the bottom half of the income distribution, down from 11 percent a decade ago. That change sneaked up on him, Mr. Casteen said, and he has spent a good part of the last year trying to prevent it from becoming part of his legacy. Starting with next fall's freshman class, the university will charge no tuition and require no loans for students whose parents make less than twice the poverty level, or about $37,700 a year for a family of four. The university has also increased financial aid to middle-income students. To Mr. Casteen, these are steps to remove what he describes as 'artificial barriers' to a college education placed in the way of otherwise deserving students. Doing so 'is a fundamental obligation of a free culture,' he said. But the deterrents to a degree can also be homegrown. Many low-income teenagers know few people who have made it through college. A majority of the nongraduates are young men, and some come from towns where the factory work ethic, to get working as soon as possible, remains strong, even if the factories themselves are vanishing. Whatever the reasons, college just does not feel normal. 'You get there and you start to struggle,' said Leanna Blevins, Andy's older sister, who did get a bachelor's degree and then went on to earn a Ph.D at Virginia studying the college experiences of poor students. 'And at home your parents are trying to be supportive and say, 'Well, if you're not happy, if it's not right for you, come back home. It's O.K.' And they think they're doing the right thing. But they don't know that maybe what the student needs is to hear them say, 'Stick it out just one semester. You can do it. Just stay there. Come home on the weekend, but stick it out.' ' Today, Ms. Blevins, petite and high-energy, is helping to start a new college a few hours' drive from Chilhowie for low-income students. Her brother said he had daydreamed about attending it and had talked to her about how he might return to college. For her part, Ms. Blevins says, she has daydreamed about having a life that would seem as natural as her brother's, a life in which she would not feel like an outsider in her hometown. Once, when a high-school teacher asked students to list their goals for the next decade, Ms. Blevins wrote, 'having a college degree' and 'not being married.' 'I think my family probably thinks I'm liberal,' Ms. Blevins, who is now married, said with a laugh, 'that I've just been educated too much and I'm gettin' above my raisin'.' Her brother said that he just wanted more control over his life, not a new one. At a time when many people complain of scattered lives, Mr. Blevins can stand in one spot - his church parking lot, next to a graveyard - and take in much of his world. 'That's my parents' house,' he said one day, pointing to a sliver of roof visible over a hill. 'That's my uncle's trailer. My grandfather is buried here. I'll probably be buried here.' Taking Class Into Account Opening up colleges to new kinds of students has generally meant one thing over the last generation: affirmative action. Intended to right the wrongs of years of exclusion, the programs have swelled the number of women, blacks and Latinos on campuses. But affirmative action was never supposed to address broad economic inequities, just the ones that stem from specific kinds of discrimination. That is now beginning to change. Like Virginia, a handful of other colleges are not only increasing financial aid but also promising to give weight to economic class in granting admissions. They say they want to make an effort to admit more low-income students, just as they now do for minorities and children of alumni. 'The great colleges and universities were designed to provide for mobility, to seek out talent,' said Anthony W. Marx, president of Amherst College. 'If we are blind to the educational disadvantages associated with need, we will simply replicate these disadvantages while appearing to make decisions based on merit.' With several populous states having already banned race-based preferences and the United States Supreme Court suggesting that it may outlaw such programs in a couple of decades, the future of affirmative action may well revolve around economics. Polls consistently show that programs based on class backgrounds have wider support than those based on race. The explosion in the number of nongraduates has also begun to get the attention of policy makers. This year, New York became one of a small group of states to tie college financing more closely to graduation rates, rewarding colleges more for moving students along than for simply admitting them. Nowhere is the stratification of education more vivid than here in Virginia, where Thomas Jefferson once tried, and failed, to set up the nation's first public high schools. At a modest high school in the Tidewater city of Portsmouth, not far from Mr. Casteen's boyhood home, a guidance office wall filled with college pennants does not include one from rarefied Virginia. The colleges whose pennants are up - Old Dominion University and others that seem in the realm of the possible - have far lower graduation rates. Across the country, the upper middle class so dominates elite universities that high-income students, on average, actually get slightly more financial aid from colleges than low-income students do. These elite colleges are so expensive that even many high-income students receive large grants. In the early 1990's, by contrast, poorer students got 50 percent more aid on average than the wealthier ones, according to the College Board, the organization that runs the SAT entrance exams. At the other end of the spectrum are community colleges, the two-year institutions that are intended to be feeders for four-year colleges. In nearly every one are tales of academic success against tremendous odds: a battered wife or a combat veteran or a laid-off worker on the way to a better life. But over all, community colleges tend to be places where dreams are put on hold. Most people who enroll say they plan to get a four-year degree eventually; few actually do. Full-time jobs, commutes and children or parents who need care often get in the way. One recent national survey found that about 75 percent of students enrolling in community colleges said they hoped to transfer to a four-year institution. But only 17 percent of those who had entered in the mid-1990's made the switch within five years, according to a separate study. The rest were out working or still studying toward the two-year degree. 'We here in Virginia do a good job of getting them in,' said Glenn Dubois, chancellor of the Virginia Community College System and himself a community college graduate. 'We have to get better in getting them out.' 'I Wear a Tie Every Day' College degree or not, Mr. Blevins has the kind of life that many Americans say they aspire to. He fills it with family, friends, church and a five-handicap golf game. He does not sit in traffic commuting to an office park. He does not talk wistfully of a relocated brother or best friend he sees only twice a year. He does not worry about who will care for his son while he works and his wife attends community college to become a physical therapist. His grandparents down the street watch Lucas, just as they took care of Andy and his two sisters when they were children. When Mr. Blevins comes home from work, it is his turn to play with Lucas, tossing him into the air and rolling around on the floor with him and a stuffed elephant. Mr. Blevins also sings in a quartet called the Gospel Gentlemen. One member is his brother-in-law; another lives on Mr. Blevins's street. In the long white van the group owns, they wend their way along mountain roads on their way to singing dates at local church functions, sometimes harmonizing, sometimes ribbing one another or talking about where to buy golf equipment. Inside the churches, the other singers often talk to the audience between songs, about God or a grandmother or what a song means to them. Mr. Blevins rarely does, but his shyness fades once he is back in the van with his friends. At the warehouse, he is usually the first to arrive, around 6:30 in the morning. The grandson of a coal miner, he takes pride, he says, in having moved up to become a supermarket buyer. He decides which bananas, grapes, onions and potatoes the company will sell and makes sure that there are always enough. Most people with his job have graduated from college. 'I'm pretty fortunate to not have a degree but have a job where I wear a tie every day,' he said. He worries about how long it will last, though, mindful of what happened to his father, Dwight, a decade ago. A high school graduate, Dwight Blevins was laid off from his own warehouse job and ended up with another one that paid less and offered a smaller pension. 'A lot of places, they're not looking that you're trained in something,' Andy Blevins said one evening, sitting on his back porch. 'They just want you to have a degree.' Figuring out how to get one is the core quandary facing the nation's college nongraduates. Many seem to want one. In a New York Times poll, 43 percent of them called it essential to success, while 42 percent of college graduates and 32 percent of high-school dropouts did. This in itself is a change from the days when 'college boy' was an insult in many working-class neighborhoods. But once students take a break - the phrase that many use instead of drop out - the ideal can quickly give way to reality. Family and work can make a return to school seem even harder than finishing it in the first place. After dropping out of Radford, Andy Blevins enrolled part-time in a community college, trying to juggle work and studies. He lasted a year. From time to time in the decade since, he has thought about giving it another try. But then he has wondered if that would be crazy. He works every third Saturday, and his phone rings on Sundays when there is a problem with the supply of potatoes or apples. 'It never ends,' he said. 'There's a never a lull.' To spend more time with Lucas, Mr. Blevins has already cut back on his singing. If he took night classes, he said, when would he ever see his little boy? Anyway, he said, it would take years to get a degree part-time. To him, it is a tug of war between living in the present and sacrificing for the future. Few Breaks for the Needy The college admissions system often seems ruthlessly meritocratic. Yes, children of alumni still have an advantage. But many other pillars of the old system - the polite rejections of women or blacks, the spots reserved for graduates of Choate and Exeter - have crumbled. This was the meritocracy Mr. Casteen described when he greeted the parents of freshman in a University of Virginia lecture hall late last summer. Hailing from all 50 states and 52 foreign countries, the students were more intelligent and better prepared than he and his classmates had been, he told the parents in his quiet, deep voice. The class included 17 students with a perfect SAT score. If anything, children of privilege think that the system has moved so far from its old-boy history that they are now at a disadvantage when they apply, because colleges are trying to diversify their student rolls. To get into a good college, the sons and daughters of the upper middle class often talk of needing a higher SAT score than, say, an applicant who grew up on a farm, in a ghetto or in a factory town. Some state legislators from Northern Virginia's affluent suburbs have argued that this is a form of geographic discrimination and have quixotically proposed bills to outlaw it. But the conventional wisdom is not quite right. The elite colleges have not been giving much of a break to the low-income students who apply. When William G. Bowen, a former president of Princeton, looked at admissions records recently, he found that if test scores were equal a low-income student had no better chance than a high-income one of getting into a group of 19 colleges, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Williams and Virginia. Athletes, legacy applicants and minority students all got in with lower scores on average. Poorer students did not. The findings befuddled many administrators, who insist that admissions officers have tried to give poorer applicants a leg up. To emphasize the point, Virginia announced this spring that it was changing its admissions policy from 'need blind' - a term long used to assure applicants that they would not be punished for seeking financial aid - to 'need conscious.' Administrators at Amherst and Harvard have also recently said that they would redouble their efforts to take into account the obstacles students have overcome. 'The same score reflects more ability when you come from a less fortunate background,' Mr. Summers, the president of Harvard, said. 'You haven't had a chance to take the test-prep course. You went to a school that didn't do as good a job coaching you for the test. You came from a home without the same opportunities for learning.' But it is probably not a coincidence that elite colleges have not yet turned this sentiment into action. Admitting large numbers of low-income students could bring clear complications. Too many in a freshman class would probably lower the college's average SAT score, thereby damaging its ranking by U.S. News & World Report, a leading arbiter of academic prestige. Some colleges, like Emory University in Atlanta, have climbed fast in the rankings over precisely the same period in which their percentage of low-income students has tumbled. The math is simple: when a college goes looking for applicants with high SAT scores, it is far more likely to find them among well-off teenagers. More spots for low-income applicants might also mean fewer for the children of alumni, who make up the fund-raising base for universities. More generous financial aid policies will probably lead to higher tuition for those students who can afford the list price. Higher tuition, lower ranking, tougher admission requirements: they do not make for an easy marketing pitch to alumni clubs around the country. But Mr. Casteen and his colleagues are going ahead, saying the pendulum has swung too far in one direction. That was the mission of John Blackburn, Virginia's easy-going admissions dean, when he rented a car and took to the road recently. Mr. Blackburn thought of the trip as a reprise of the drives Mr. Casteen took 25 years earlier, when he was the admissions dean, traveling to churches and community centers to persuade black parents that the university was finally interested in their children. One Monday night, Mr. Blackburn came to Big Stone Gap, in a mostly poor corner of the state not far from Andy Blevins's town. A community college there was holding a college fair, and Mr. Blackburn set up a table in a hallway, draping it with the University of Virginia's blue and orange flag. As students came by, Mr. Blackburn would explain Virginia's new admissions and financial aid policies. But he soon realized that the Virginia name might have been scaring off the very people his pitch was intended for. Most of the students who did approach the table showed little interest in the financial aid and expressed little need for it. One man walked up to Mr. Blackburn and introduced his son as an aspiring doctor. The father was an ophthalmologist. Other doctors came by, too. So did some lawyers. 'You can't just raise the UVa flag,' Mr. Blackburn said, packing up his materials at the end of the night, 'and expect a lot of low-income kids to come out.' When the applications started arriving in his office this spring, there seemed to be no increase in those from low-income students. So Mr. Blackburn extended the deadline two weeks for everybody, and his colleagues also helped some applicants with the maze of financial aid forms. Of 3,100 incoming freshmen, it now seems that about 180 will qualify for the new financial aid program, up from 130 who would have done so last year. It is not a huge number, but Virginia administrators call it a start. A Big Decision On a still-dark February morning, with the winter's heaviest snowfall on the ground, Andy Blevins scraped off his Jeep and began his daily drive to the supermarket warehouse. As he passed the home of Mike Nash, his neighbor and fellow gospel singer, he noticed that the car was still in the driveway. For Mr. Nash, a school counselor and the only college graduate in the singing group, this was a snow day. Mr. Blevins later sat down with his calendar and counted to 280: the number of days he had worked last year. Two hundred and eighty days - six days a week most of the time - without ever really knowing what the future would hold. 'I just realized I'm going to have to do something about this,' he said, 'because it's never going to end.' In the weeks afterward, his daydreaming about college and his conversations about it with his sister Leanna turned into serious research. He requested his transcripts from Radford and from Virginia Highlands Community College and figured out that he had about a year's worth of credits. He also talked to Leanna about how he could become an elementary school teacher. He always felt that he could relate to children, he said. The job would take up 180 days, not 280. Teachers do not usually get laid off or lose their pensions or have to take a big pay cut to find new work. So the decision was made. On May 31, Andy Blevins says, he will return to Virginia Highlands, taking classes at night; the Gospel Gentlemen are no longer booking performances. After a year, he plans to take classes by video and on the Web that are offered at the community college but run by Old Dominion, a Norfolk, Va., university with a big group of working-class students. 'I don't like classes, but I've gotten so motivated to go back to school,' Mr. Blevins said. 'I don't want to, but, then again, I do.' He thinks he can get his bachelor's degree in three years. If he gets it at all, he will have defied the odds.

Subject: Barbarians at the gate
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 23:11:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
How much further punishment are stock holders and workers willing to take before they demand changes? Why are we so dumb as to keep feeding our lifesavings into the stockmarkets and on up the line into the pockets of these executives? Pension plans are on the brink and 401k's are being raided. Where's the anger? From CFO.com: Gillette Awards Options to Top Execs No severance for laid-off workers, however; ''It would seem like this is a tide that's lifting only yachts, and not all boats,'' says a Massachusetts regulator. Stephen Taub, CFO.com May 23, 2005 Gillette disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it has awarded large numbers of options to top executives in advance of its planned $57 billion acquisition by Procter & Gamble Co. The Boston-based consumer products company made its filing on the same day it announced that workers who lose their jobs as a result of the merger will not receive buyout packages. Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, who has been probing certain aspects of the merger agreement, said of the stock options, 'It would seem like this is a tide that's lifting only yachts, and not all boats,' according to the Associated Press. 'The priority is taking care of Mr. Kilts and the people at the top, and not the employees.' The Boston Globe reported that Galvin has subpoenaed Gillette's chairman, president, and chief executive officer, James M. Kilts, to testify under oath about the merger; senior vice president and chief financial officer Charles W. Cramb was questioned Thursday. The newspaper added, however, that Suffolk Superior Court Judge Allan van Gestel ruled that Galvin must limit his probe to determining whether Gillette's two investment banks, Goldman Sachs Group and UBS AG, withheld information that might have valued the company higher than the $57 billion that P&G has agreed to pay. ''The court again observes that it is UBS and Goldman Sachs which are being investigated for fraud committed on Gillette, and possibly Gillette's shareholders, not the other way around,' wrote Judge van Gestel, according to the Globe. The judge also reportedly refused to allow Galvin's staff to search Gillette's computers for deleted e-mails of senior executives. Though Galvin has been critical of Kilts's compensation — he will receive $165 million if the merger goes through — he will not question the CEO about his pay, the Globe added. As for those option grants: Kilts has been awarded options to buy 800,000 shares of stock, according to the Associated Press. Vice chairman Edward F. DeGraan will receive options to buy 160,000 shares; Cramb, the finance chief, will receive options on 96,000 shares; and vice presidents Peter Hoffman and Mark M. Leckie will receive options to buy 76,000 shares apiece. According to Gillette's filing, the options will be granted on June 16 and will have an exercise price equal to the fair-market value on that date. Currently, Kilts's options would be worth about $14 million, observed the AP. According to the wire service, the company also stated that it will not offer buyout packages to the approximately 6,000 employees who are expected to be laid off after the merger, but will offer 'appropriate' severance packages. 'Gillette has never offered widespread voluntary severance packages,' said company spokesman Eric Kraus. 'When you have a merger of this size, P&G and Gillette will decide how to staff and how to run the most effective organization.'

Subject: Re: Barbarians at the gate
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 05:42:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thank you for posting this. I heard the report,then forgot to look for an article. So sad.

Subject: 'Lessons?' from the yen-dollar talks
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 22:27:03 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Matthew Goodman and Robert Fauver Lessons from the yen-dollar talks Amid the inexorably rising US trade deficit, Washington is crying foul about 'unfair' currency practices by its major trading partners. The leading economies of east Asia are seen as the main culprits, accumulating large trade surpluses and stockpiles of foreign exchange reserves while maintaining exchange rates that appear by all economic measures to be considerably undervalued. If the US Treasury will not act to address these inequities, Congress has threatened to take the issue out of Treasury's hands. Such was the situation confronting the Reagan administration in 1983 as complaints about Japanese trade and currency practices rose to fever pitch. Facing a similar challenge today over China, the Bush administration would do well to consider the Reagan Treasury's innovative approach to financial diplomacy. In November 1983, Donald Regan, US Treasury secretary, and Noboru Takeshita, Japan's finance minister, issued a rare joint statement declaring that 'open, liberal capital markets and the free movement of capital are important to the operation of an effectively functioning international monetary system'. They agreed to establish a working group of senior officials on yen-dollar issues. The group met six times in early 1984 and handed a report to the ministers in May that year. The stated rationale for these so-called 'yen-dollar talks' was to promote liberalisation of Japan's capital markets and internationalisation of the yen. At the time, Japan's financial system was heavily bankcentric, interest rates were strictly controlled by the finance ministry, and markets for yen instruments were limited. Most important from a US perspective, the yen was considered to be substantially undervalued, giving Japan a perceived unfair advantage in trade. Pulling these strands together, Treasury's strategy was to promote a stronger Japanese currency by deepening the market for yen instruments and making yen assets more attractive to foreign investors. No secret was made of this objective: in its May 1984 report, the Yen-Dollar Working Group noted that steps to internationalise the yen and liberalise Japan's capital markets would 'lead to a stronger yen'. The report included far-reaching commitments by Japan, such as a timetable for liberalisation of interest rates, the introduction of funding instruments such as certificates of deposit and enhanced access for foreign financial institutions to Japanese capital markets. As intended, the yen-dollar process contributed to the yen's long-term appreciation from its postwar fixed rate of 360 yen to the dollar to roughly 105 yen today. Financial conditions in China today in many ways parallel those in early-1980s Japan. China's currency, the renminbi, or yuan, as the local equivalent is known, is estimated to be undervalued by as much as 25-40 per cent. Moreover it is not convertible. Capital flows in and out of China are broadly government controlled. Most domestic financial transactions and prices are also heavily regulated, and the range of permitted financial instruments is limited. Domestic capital markets are embryonic, with minimal foreign participation. Of course, China is not Japan. Apart from the specific differences in the two countries' exchange rate regimes - China maintains a rigid peg, Japan a 'dirty float' - China is still a developing country, with per capita income at one-thirtieth the level of Japan's. China's economy is more open to foreign direct investment than Japan's was then (or is now). And, whereas Washington had considerable leverage over Tokyo via their security alliance, the Chinese are widely perceived to be less susceptible to gaiatsu (foreign pressure). But the point is not to replicate the yen-dollar talks precisely. Clearly the agenda, format and public portrayal of any financial dialogue between the US and China would have to be modified substantially to reflect current bilateral realities. Among other things, a dialogue with China today should put more emphasis on promoting sound supervision of banks and better credit risk management. Provided the objective was to open and strengthen China's financial system and facilitate the move to a more flexible, market-based exchange rate, a dialogue that looked very different from the yen-dollar talks could make a valuable contribution to global economic growth and financial stability. If presented as a bold, new initiative with senior-level involvement, such a dialogue could also make political sense for the Bush administration, helping deflect pressure for less market-friendly remedies to perceived unfair Chinese practices. There is even reason to believe it would be welcomed by Beijing, which may not like foreign pressure but has learned it is a reality of its new engagement in the global economy. China knows it could benefit from US experience and advice in tackling its serious financial inefficiencies, which jeopardise sustained growth. The US Treasury has come under renewed domestic fire for failing to name China a currency 'manipulator' in its latest report to Congress. Overt pressure - let alone the trade-restrictive remedies being contemplated on Capitol Hill - is unlikely to persuade Beijing to revalue its currency or fix its banks. In its wrangle with China, launching 'yuan-dollar' talks could be exactly the kind of creative financial diplomacy Treasury used so effectively with Japan. Matthew Goodman, US Treasury attache in Tokyo 1992-97, is vice-president of Stonebridge International in Washington, DC; Robert Fauver, a former US Treasury staff director, is president of Fauver Associates FT Monday May 23 2005

Subject: Time running out
From: Pete Weis
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 22:57:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Something needs to happen to avoid a tariff war and the inevitable retaliations. If Bush is going to veto tariff legislation (which I understand likely will have enough votes to pass) he needs something to offer as a replacement solution. But it's the lessons of the 30's on which we should be most focused.

Subject: Isnt it too late?
From: David E..
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 23:33:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
For Tariffs? I thought I read the Chinese have already slapped a tax on exports. I thought that was very clever of them, they get to keep the money by taxing exports. Of course this is obvious to me, it may not be obvious to the Bush administration. Much of chinese imports is from global companies. Who would back down first, the export tax folks or the import folks? I am pretty confident that global companies have much more influence in Washington than they do in Bejing. So if the US ever passes import taxes -- they will be the first to fold. Just my opinion! Cheers

Subject: Re: Isnt it too late?
From: Pete Weis
To: David E..
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 09:14:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
David E. The Chinese did institute some export tariffs on clothing and textiles, but I don't think it is enough to stop the vote on import tariffs to take place sometime before July 27. The senate is demanding an unpegging of the yuan which the Chinese have said they will not be pressured into doing. Now if the Chinese instituted higher tariffs on across-the-board exports to the US, then the senate vote might be averted. But wouldn't the Europeans want the same?

Subject: The latest
From: Pete Weis
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 09:37:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
From The Financial Times: China told by US to revalue renminbi by 10% >By Andrew Balls in Washington >Published: May 24 2005 01:49 | Last updated: May 24 2005 04:24 >> The US Treasury has told the Chinese authorities that they must revalue their currency by at least 10 per cent against the dollar to prevent protectionist legislation in the US congress. Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state, is one of a number of unofficial envoys who have impressed upon China the urgent need for action on the 10 per cent target, and on the seriousness of the threat from Congress, people with familiar with the administration's efforts said. As well as the minimum 10 per cent target revaluation, Dr Kissinger was briefed by the Treasury on the need for other measures, such as a shift to a currency band against the dollar or a basket against a number of currencies to replace the peg. Bill Rhodes, senior vice chairman of Citigroup, and Brent Scowcroft, who was national security adviser to President Ford and President George H. W. Bush, have also acted as unofficial envoys on behalf of the present administration. Mr Kissinger and Mr Scowcroft were not immediately available for comment. Mr Rhodes declined to comment on talks with Beijing but said: “Apart from any external pressure, I think that it is in China's own interest in the coming months to move towards a market-based interest rate regime, accelerate the opening of the capital account, and move to a more flexible exchange rate system.” Tony Fratto, US Treasury spokesman, refused to comment on the 10 per cent minimum target. “We have made it clear that the interim step should be of sufficient magnitude and flexibility to quell speculative financial flows,” he said. “Without commenting on particular individuals, I would say that it is important for the Chinese authorities to hear from respected individuals who can provide an accurate analysis of the American political environment on this issue.” There was a marked shift in the Treasury's strategy ahead of last month's meeting of the Group of Seven leading industrial countries, with talk of the need for currency flexibility replaced by the call for urgent action. The administration has been spurred by concern over a bill championed by Charles Schumer, Democratic senator, that would impose trade sanctions if China does not act within six months. When John Snow, Treasury secretary, released the department's report on trade and exchange rates last week, he said that the Treasury had called for currency flexibility and that an interim step was needed. The message was that China needed to act within the next six months. A senior administration official said at the time that a 5 per cent revaluation would not be enough. Alan Greenspan said on Friday in response to a question at the Economic Club of New York that a notional 20 per revaluation of the renminbi would have little impact on the US trade balance. Many experts on China say that the increased pressure from the United States may make it harder for the Chinese authorities to take action, and in particular for those who favour a shift in the currency regime to win the argument in Beijing.

Subject: Re: Isnt it too late?
From: Terri
To: David E..
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 07:31:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Paul Krugman has been in Asia; we must try to get transcripts of the talks. there is much to worry about, alas.

Subject: From where will change come?
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 21:32:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'So where will change come from?' 'Everyone loves historical analogies. Here's my thought: maybe 2004 was 1928. During the 1920's, the national government followed doctrinaire conservative policies, but reformist policies that presaged the New Deal were already bubbling up in the states, especially in New York.' 'In 1928 Al Smith, the governor of New York, was defeated in an ugly presidential campaign in which Protestant preachers warned their flocks that a vote for the Catholic Smith was a vote for the devil. But four years later F.D.R. took office, and the New Deal began.' 'Of course, the coming of the New Deal was hastened by a severe national depression. Strange to say, we may be working on that, too.' - Paul Krugman NYT's 5/23/05 editorial

Subject: Men Just Want Mommy
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 17:56:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/13/opinion/13dowd.html?ex=1263358800&en=f871ef134050f2e4&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland Men Just Want Mommy By MAUREEN DOWD WASHINGTON A few years ago at a White House Correspondents' dinner, I met a very beautiful actress. Within moments, she blurted out: 'I can't believe I'm 46 and not married. Men only want to marry their personal assistants or P.R. women.' I'd been noticing a trend along these lines, as famous and powerful men took up with the young women whose job it was to tend to them and care for them in some way: their secretaries, assistants, nannies, caterers, flight attendants, researchers and fact-checkers. Women in staff support are the new sirens because, as a guy I know put it, they look upon the men they work for as 'the moon, the sun and the stars.' It's all about orbiting, serving and salaaming their Sun Gods. In all those great Tracy/Hepburn movies more than a half-century ago, it was the snap and crackle of a romance between equals that was so exciting. Moviemakers these days seem far more interested in the soothing aura of romances between unequals. In James Brooks's 'Spanglish,' Adam Sandler, as a Los Angeles chef, falls for his hot Mexican maid. The maid, who cleans up after Mr. Sandler without being able to speak English, is presented as the ideal woman. The wife, played by Téa Leoni, is repellent: a jangly, yakking, overachieving, overexercised, unfaithful, shallow she-monster who has just lost her job with a commercial design firm. Picture Faye Dunaway in 'Network' if she'd had to stay home, or Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction' without the charm. The same attraction of unequals animated Richard Curtis's 'Love Actually,' a 2003 holiday hit. The witty and sophisticated British prime minister, played by Hugh Grant, falls for the chubby girl who wheels the tea and scones into his office. A businessman married to the substantial Emma Thompson falls for his sultry secretary. A writer falls for his maid, who speaks only Portuguese. (I wonder if the trend in making maids who don't speak English heroines is related to the trend of guys who like to watch Kelly Ripa in the morning with the sound turned off?) Art is imitating life, turning women who seek equality into selfish narcissists and objects of rejection, rather than affection. As John Schwartz of The New York Times wrote recently, 'Men would rather marry their secretaries than their bosses, and evolution may be to blame.' A new study by psychology researchers at the University of Michigan, using college undergraduates, suggests that men going for long-term relationships would rather marry women in subordinate jobs than women who are supervisors. As Dr. Stephanie Brown, the lead author of the study, summed it up for reporters: 'Powerful women are at a disadvantage in the marriage market because men may prefer to marry less-accomplished women.' Men think that women with important jobs are more likely to cheat on them. 'The hypothesis,' Dr. Brown said, 'is that there are evolutionary pressures on males to take steps to minimize the risk of raising offspring that are not their own.' Women, by contrast, did not show a marked difference in their attraction to men who might work above or below them. And men did not show a preference when it came to one-night stands. A second study, which was by researchers at four British universities and reported last week, suggested that smart men with demanding jobs would rather have old-fashioned wives, like their mums, than equals. The study found that a high I.Q. hampers a woman's chance to get married, while it is a plus for men. The prospect for marriage increased by 35 percent for guys for each 16-point increase in I.Q.; for women, there is a 40 percent drop for each 16-point rise. So was the feminist movement some sort of cruel hoax? The more women achieve, the less desirable they are? Women want to be in a relationship with guys they can seriously talk to - unfortunately, a lot of those guys want to be in relationships with women they don't have to talk to. I asked the actress and writer Carrie Fisher, on the East Coast to promote her novel 'The Best Awful,' who confirmed that women who challenge men are in trouble. 'I haven't dated in 12 million years,' she said drily. 'I gave up on dating powerful men because they wanted to date women in the service professions. So I decided to date guys in the service professions. But then I found out that kings want to be treated like kings, and consorts want to be treated like kings, too.'

Subject: Climbing Bond Prices
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 15:02:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Argue as we will, the bond market is decisively telling us there will be no inflation problem. The long term Treasury yield is 4.06%. We should take these number seriously, for there appears little prospect of inflation from private institutional demand for bonds.

Subject: The Birds of Delaware Bay
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 12:01:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/23/nyregion/23shore.html?pagewanted=all Will the Birds Stop Returning to Delaware Bay? By TINA KELLEY CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE, N.J. - The red knots were already three days late on their flight north from the bottom of the world and the people waiting for them were beginning to get nervous. The birds' dining table was not even set. On the full moon of the fifth month of the year, horseshoe crabs crawl up on the beaches of Delaware Bay to mate, as they have for 200 million years. A decade ago, they covered the beach like cobblestones, and flocks of red knots, chubby brown-flecked shorebirds the size of robins, would stop to eat the crabs' eggs, doubling their body weight before flying nonstop for three days straight to reach Southampton Island in Canada, just below the Arctic Circle. There they would spend a few weeks bulking up again and breeding before flying back to their winter home, Tierra del Fuego, at the southern tip of South America. The annual round-trip migration covers an estimated 20,000 miles. But the horseshoe crabs, so vital to the birds' survival, have fallen in numbers along the shores of Delaware Bay. As a result, the population of red knots spotted in the area plummeted to 13,315 last year from 50,360 in 1998, and scientists predict it will be extinct in five years. So a group of volunteer beach stewards have joined to help the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection revive the feeding frenzy that used to announce the arrival of summer more loudly than Memorial Day tourists driving along the sparsely populated bay shore. For three years, some beaches have been closed for the feeding season, the last two weeks in May and first week in June, when mating crabs would kick up the buried eggs of crabs that had already mated, exposing the green pinhead-size eggs to the gulls and migrating sanderlings, ruddy turnstones and red knots that feed here. The red knots, listed as a threatened species in New Jersey, are more dependent than other birds on the eggs, an easily found, easily digestible source of fat and protein. On May 14, the first day of the closings, Stacy Carlucci of East Brunswick, one of the volunteers for the department's Division of Fish and Wildlife, said she looked forward to guarding the beaches. 'It's not always fun,' she said. 'You do have to deal with unhappy people sometimes.' Like Ms. Carlucci, Pat and Don Walker of Clarksburg have volunteered with the state's endangered species program for three years, and they have found that the job gets easier as beach visitors learn more about the need for the closings. Last year, the couple had to ask only one person to leave the beach, and later notified the state authorities about low-flying ultralight planes, which scared the birds off the sand. 'We haven't run across anyone who's been arrogant,' Don Walker said as he looked over the beach and the jetty at the end of Reeds Beach. The couple has never had to summon Craig James, a Fish and Wildlife enforcement officer who has the authority to issue tickets of up to $5,000 to anyone harassing wildlife. So far, he has issued only warnings since the beach closings started, he said. Just then, a call came in over Mr. James's radio about personal watercraft around Champagne Island, a sand spit on the Atlantic that was closed for the first time this year. He and researchers with Fish and Wildlife discussed how long it would take to get a boat into the water and reach the island to enforce the ban. At some of the seven closed beaches, the players in the migratory drama were remarkable for their absence. There were few horseshoe crabs to be seen, and gulls had flipped several over and were eating them alive. There were about a thousand sanderlings along a point on a stretch of closed beach, but no red knots. They usually arrive on May 11. In the strict algebra of the red knots' survival, the variables are numerous. When supplies of conch collapsed in the Caribbean in the early 1990's, fishermen began harvesting New Jersey horseshoe crabs as replacement bait, often taking females at the beginning of mating season. Even though the crabs in New Jersey have received some protection, it will take about 10 years for young ones to reach their breeding age. If there are not enough crab eggs, scientists believe, the red knots cannot fatten up in time to make it up north so their chicks can enjoy the bugs available during the brief Arctic summer. After the number of returning red knots dropped precipitously last season, more beaches, including some on the Atlantic Ocean, were closed this year, and 25 volunteers, 10 more than last year, signed up to keep people off the sand and let the birds feast in peace. Terri Allen of Del Haven, a three-year veteran of the beach steward program and a former teacher, was watching over Norbury's Landing, on Delaware Bay. 'The number of people who say, 'You can't legally keep me off the beach' is down,' she said. 'People who live near the beach have a whole different attitude. It's their beach, they've got dogs, and they've always let them run and chase birds.' Ms. Allen referred one such screaming woman to Mr. James. 'Having the backup has been both necessary and really very helpful,' Ms. Allen said. Ms. Allen said she thought the stewards were helping the birds. She recalled how thickly red knots covered the beach 25 years ago. 'It's nothing like that now, even on the very best days,' she said. Ron Porter of Philadelphia volunteers for the state with other birders who put bands on shorebirds and track them to give scientists a better idea of their population's health. 'It's been very rewarding to see political changes because of the data we've collected,' he said. Several volunteers traveled as far as the birds to help their cause, including Clive Minton of Melbourne, Australia. He remembers being 'absolutely horrified' by seeing tens of thousands of female horseshoe crabs harvested and trucked away from Delaware Bay beaches. Mandy Dey, a senior biologist with the state's Endangered and Nongame Species program, was nervously awaiting the arrival of the late birds. 'Last year was the lowest we've ever seen, and we don't know what to expect this year,' she said. 'It could be weather, they could be delayed. We're just holding our breath.' Larry Niles, the chief of the Endangered and Nongame Species Program, said the bird might have to be added to the federal list of endangered species. 'This flyway goes from one end of the world to the other end, through the United States, the richest country, through the richest state on the Eastern Seaboard, and we don't protect this stopover,' he said. As of last night, about 12,000 red knots had arrived in Delaware Bay, but there was no significant crab spawning, and some birds were seen eating clams, considered a sign of desperation. 'We worried that the cool weather might diminish any possibility of crab laying this week,' Dr. Niles said. This season is a decisive one, Dr. Niles said. 'We personally all feel it. When something really inspiring and majestic turns into a pathetic remnant, it affects you personally.'

Subject: Paul Krugman in Bangkok
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 11:24:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.bangkokpost.com/Business/19May2005_biz66.php Shift to domestic-led growth may become essential in Asia By PARISTA YUTHAMANOP Imbalances in the global financial market could push Southeast Asian economies to undertake a difficult adjustment in the future toward domestic demand-led growth from export-led growth models, according to US economist Paul Krugman. The Princeton University economist and well-known columnist for the New York Times, made the comment in Bangkok where he has been speaking on global and regional economic trends. Addressing a seminar at the Sofitel Central Plaza Hotel yesterday, Prof Krugman said the US economy was currently unsustainable, with the huge current account deficit and overinvestment in the housing market eventually leading to an economic recession and wiping out the US's role as ''the world's importer of last resort''. Thailand, together with other Asian countries, would need to shift investment to spur domestic demand to help compensate for a decline in exports following a US recession, he said. ''Private investment is currently low by historical standards. Interest rates are also very low. If the current account is going to decline, it would be difficult to figure out where the internal demand will come from. ... Public investment is a reasonable thing to do.'' The Thai government has announced plans to invest 1.7 trillion baht through 2009 in new transport, energy, water and communications projects. Prof Krugman said that while public investment could be a ''stopgap'' for economic adjustment as it would help strengthen private investment, the final benefits would rely on the quality of the projects. ''Thailand would be in a situation resembling Japan in the past, when enormous infrastructure public investments were made purely to increase domestic demand. Many projects had no receivables,'' he said. Prof Krugman cautioned that the adjustment to the present global financial imbalance could be a ''messy'' and ''deeply troubled'' one. ''The US current deficit, at close to 6% of gross domestic product, would be in a danger zone by any standard of a crisis. Most developing countries have no alarms ringing, but the US looks serious.'' The US housing market, he said, was also showing signs of a bubble, marked by high prices and speculative demand. ''Macro indicators suggest that the market is speculative mania. Day trading cannot be sustainable. There is a real bubble mentality in the US housing market,'' Prof Krugman said, adding that prices of US housing were 250% of their real values. A fall in the housing market and investment would spur a US recession and lead to capital outflows. ''There would be a difficult contraction in the US economy. It would be a very difficult contraction for monetary policy to deal with. I think there is 50% chance for a major break in the situation in the US next year.'' Prof Krugman said a US recession would force Asian economies to shift toward domestic demand policies. ''Asia and Japan will see a fall in exports. It will be an end of export-led growth. The US will no longer be an importer of last resort. Asia will need domestic demand for support.'' Prof Krugman said Asian central banks also were expected to increasingly diversify their foreign reserve portfolio away from dollars to euros and yen. Emerging Asian countries, led by China, are the largest investors in the world in US assets. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra welcomed Mr Krugman's words of caution. ''It's good to consider and take heed of the warnings made by a US economist of a potential US economic bubble,'' he said. ''At the same time, we shouldn't become too alarmed.'' Mr Thaksin said Thailand's concerns were to conserve energy and minimise a potential current account deficit. ''We aren't saying that we can't have a deficit, only that we should try to minimise it if possible. We have plentiful foreign reserves and can accept a deficit if need be,'' he said.

Subject: No Old-Age Security in Private Sector
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 11:17:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-stiglitz22may22,0,1754893.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions May 22, 2005 No Old-Age Security in the Private Sector Either By Joseph E. Stiglitz President Bush's plan to reform Social Security requires that we trust the private sector, which isn't all that easy to do given its inability to honor its obligations in pensions or to provide adequate health plans. The recent court decision allowing United Airlines to turn over its pension system to the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. is likely to raise anxieties still further among Americans already worried about their old-age security. There is a certain irony to what's going on: As the president tries to turn over responsibility for retirement to the private sector, the private sector is simultaneously turning to the government for help. It is the private pension system, not the public one, that is facing the most imminent problem. The shortfall in the United Airlines pension program alone is estimated at nearly $10 billion. The court's decision to have the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. take over the airline's obligation was not an act of charity. Without the turnover, United might have gone bankrupt, and then the full liability would have fallen to the government. Indeed, that was the original intent of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. — to ensure that when companies go bankrupt, their employees are not left in the lurch. But it is not just taxpayers who should be unhappy about this turn of events, as the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. picks up the tab for United's financial woes. The workers too are disgruntled, because the agency does not fully insure pensions; many of the United pilots, for instance, will see their pensions drastically reduced. What the court's decision has done is change the rules of the game. The only way for other airlines to compete now isn't just to operate more efficiently but to have the government pick up more of their costs. It is expected that Delta Airlines will be the next to try. This apparently is part of the new form of Bush capitalism, involving the nationalization of private liabilities. The bonds of GM and Ford, once bastions of American capitalism, have been downgraded to junk status, their future viability weighed down by their health and retirement obligations to retirees. Is it only a matter of time before they too turn to the government? As company after company has passed off its liabilities to the government, the assets of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which is supposed to protect retirees, have been wiped out. As of September, it had a deficit of $23 billion. This number is more solid than the problems being projected for Social Security. Social Security's difficulties won't show up for years, if at all. If the economy grows as robustly as the Bush administration predicted when it asked for tax cuts for the wealthy, and if immigration as a percentage of the population remains as strong as it has been, the higher Social Security revenues will mean that the system's problems will take care of themselves, at least for the next 75 years. The problems in the private sector are, in many cases, a combination of bad accounting, greed and lax government regulation that allowed corporations not only to put insufficient pension funds aside in the first place but to raid corporate pension funds they claimed were over-funded. The parallel to what has occurred on the public side is uncanny. A combination of bad accounting and political greed allowed the administration to claim that huge surpluses justified a huge tax cut. The accounting was a mirage; the surpluses soon disappeared, and fiscal solvency of the United States was undermined. If but a fraction of the money spent on the tax cuts had been devoted to Social Security, the fiscal solvency of the program would have been ensured for 75 years, even using conservative projections. America is the richest country in the world. We should have the ingenuity and means to design retirement programs that insures Americans against stock market volatility and inflation. Social Security is the only program that does this for most Americans. United's experience shows that private pension programs cannot be counted on. Private accounts would be subject to the vagaries of the market. And no private program would insulate against inflation. We should be focusing our attention on making our private system work better. Certainly we should do that before we begin Bush's risky path of beginning to dismantle our public one.

Subject: Reality to catch up with spin?
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 11:06:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

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Globalist: China and the politics of a U.S. awash in debt Roger Cohen SATURDAY, MAY 21, 2005 NEW YORK Perhaps the only working class that China's Communist president, Hu Jintao, is still assisting is the American. I am not referring to the flood of cheap Chinese products that are keeping prices down, although that helps the average household. I refer to Hu's policy of using what is widely regarded as an undervalued Chinese yuan to buy United States Treasury securities and so help keep American interest rates down. The United States is awash in debt. Median household debt has risen to more than $100,000 from less than $60,000 in 1990 even as median incomes have increased only slightly. Much of the debt is held by workers ramping up their loans on one credit card after another, or obtaining dubious mortgages in a bid to secure some fraction of the heady lifestyle of an upper class that keeps getting richer. As Bob Davis of The Wall Street Journal pointed out in a recent article, the amount owed by U.S. households with at least one credit card rose to $9,205 in 2003, an increase of almost 25 percent from five years earlier. This increase has occurred as the gap between rich and poor has continued to widen and the visibility of coveted luxury goods on television and the Internet has continued to grow. Some laud the democratization of credit, seeing its availability to wider swaths of the American population as broadening opportunity; some criticize it as the ruthless seduction by financial institutions of working people who will one day face bankruptcy because they will be unable to pay credit-card bills and mortgages. But this much is clear: The spread of debt is one of the more significant social phenomena in the United States today, allowing the less well-off to spend more than they have and so assuage feelings of being left behind by the conspicuous rich. As long as interest rates do not rise steeply, this social process will continue to function. Hence Hu's heft on Main Street. But what are the politics of debt? You might be forgiven for thinking that rank-and-file Americans seeing their wages eroded by international competition as executive compensation rises, and facing burgeoning credit-card bills, would be inclined to vote for the Democratic Party, which has traditionally represented the have-nots. But of course you'd be wrong. Perhaps the single most significant U.S. political phenomenon of the past two decades has been the process that has seen working-class and middle-class Americans with constant or declining incomes identify more with God, the armed forces and the Republican Party than with the Democrats. They have tended, with the conspicuous exception of African-Americans, to be less moved by the strain on their finances than by three other 'Fs' - faith, family and freedom - as successfully promoted by Republicans. Thomas Frank, the author and political analyst, calls these average working people who seem to be voting against economic logic 'backlash conservatives.' In an article in the New York Review of Books, Frank commented: 'The backlash narrative is more powerful than mere facts. According to its central mythology, conservatives are always hardworking patriots who love their country and are persecuted for it, while liberals, who are either high-born weaklings or eggheads hypnotized by some fancy idea, are always ready to sell their nation out.' This narrative, in which the defining characteristic of liberalism becomes what Frank calls 'deracinated upper-classness,' has proved effective. It was precisely as a 'high-born weakling' that Karl Rove, the brilliant political strategist of President George Bush, portrayed the Democratic candidate John Kerry. Bush carried the white working-class vote by a clear margin. So America today presents the picture of a country with wide swaths of its citizens drifting economically, using ever-increasing debt as a means to cushion the blow, but convinced that the Democratic Party has parted company with them by embracing values - same-sex marriage, abortion, secularism - that are unacceptable, not only in their eyes, but also in God's. In this vision of things, it does not matter that Bush spends his time tightening bankruptcy laws to favor the very credit-card companies that are offering loans that may prove unpayable. It matters that Bush is seen as rooted, patriotic, a real man, and, for some, a divine agent in the White House. The Republicans' success in purveying this message is striking. But there is nothing very new in people confronted by economic difficulties turning to God, patriotism and the armed forces. Militant American nationalism - the kind that dismisses most Europeans as wimps, the United Nations as a fatuous talk-shop and all liberals as idiots - is suffused with a pumped-up, feel-good factor common to all nationalisms. Its social roots are probably not that different, either. Which brings us back to Hu. Could the Chinese leader do what the Democrats have failed to do - get more ordinary Americans to focus squarely on their economic situation and conclude that it may be better to vote for a party that might just act in their interests? The U.S. Treasury, alarmed at those spiraling Chinese imports, and under growing protectionist pressure, has now urged Hu to revalue the yuan. If Hu obliges, those U.S. Treasury securities might well look less attractive because, measured in a stronger yuan, their value would decline. If China then reduces its purchases of Treasury bills, and other Asian central banks follow suit, one thing is certain: Interest rates will rise and Joe Six-Pack, from Kansas to Nebraska, will be hurting a lot more when credit-card bills arrive. If the pain is sharp enough, a political alternative - the Democrats - may look more attractive. We live in a wondrous world. It could just be that a Chinese Communist, leading a society hell-bent on capitalism, and prodded by a Republican administration, ends up helping what still passes for the left in America by driving the economic reality of personal debt home to the point where 'moral values' become secondary.

Subject: Re: Reality to catch up with spin?
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 11:47:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/05/20/news/globalist.php Globalist: China and the politics of a U.S. awash in debt Roger Cohen - International Herald Tribune Here is the link....

Subject: Marriage, Money and Class
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 11:02:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/23/opinion/l23class.html Marriage, Money and Class (5 Letters) To the Editor: Re 'A Marriage of Unequals' ('Class Matters' series, front page, May 19): I was raised in a working-class home and taught to treat all people with respect. Having gone to Yale and Stanford, I have 'jumped class,' so to speak. My favorite class story happened in business school when small groups of three were asked to guess one another's least-known attribute. When we stymied each other, I confessed that my parents were factory workers. To my amazement, the second person burst into a smile and said, 'My dad is a garbage man.' The two of us thought it was very amusing, but not our third member. She, obviously of higher class, looked at us strangely and said, 'Aren't you ashamed?' To this day I wish I had shot back that at least we knew that where we were was based on our own talents and not on our parents' money and social standing. Rich people, poor people, sometimes they forget they are all humans and not labels. Nancy C. Langwiser Wellesley, Mass., May 19, 2005 • To the Editor: My parents recently celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary. My mother has a doctorate in social work; my father had to drop out of high school during the Depression. My mother came from a wealthy family of doctors; my father's parents were poor Russian immigrants. What has kept their marriage strong is a deep commitment to the same political ideals that transcends their class differences. And for us, their children, it has been a very interesting household to grow up in. Laurie R. Goldstein New York, May 19, 2005 • To the Editor: While different cultures can and often do create a problem in a marriage, and money plays its role, the core of the problem is who has the money. In our society, it is most often that the man has the money; he is the provider, and inevitably uses that power. Everyone is happy that the woman has made 'a good marriage.' No problem. In your article, with the wife having the money, and the power, it seems to me that the problem is more of gender than of money. For a wife to be the rich one, or even to earn more money than her husband, is a threat to the American male, who has not yet digested the awesome concept of power-sharing and a woman's earning power. It's the gender, ladies and gentlemen, not the money. Hila Colman Bridgewater, Conn., May 19, 2005 • To the Editor: I read with great interest your article about people of different economic classes marrying, as I, too, 'married up.' When I met my future husband, who lived quite modestly, he mentioned that his parents drove used cars. I envisioned a Dodge Dart and a Ford Pinto. Imagine my surprise when I visited them for the first time and saw a Rolls-Royce and a Mercedes convertible parked in their garage! I always chuckle when I remember that introduction to my future in-laws, who turned out to be the warmest couple I know. Ann Sturman Westlake Village, Calif., May 19, 2005 • To the Editor: In our society, we have different classes, cultures, religions, races, sexes and ethnicities. We can celebrate these differences or we can use them as barriers to keep us apart. Some of us mix smoothly and some choose to segregate. At worst, we can respond to fear, or at best, we can grow and learn together. The choice is ours. Jerry Frankel Plano, Tex., May 19, 2005

Subject: Indigo Bunting
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 22:37:46 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=3252&u=178|303|... Indigo Bunting New York City--Central Park, The Ravine.

Subject: Re: Indigo Bunting
From: Terri
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 10:00:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I thought this was about baseball.

Subject: Paul Krugman
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 19:47:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Economics is really political economics, no matter are wish that it be otherwise. Paul Krugman is honest and open and courageous through times when we can be too timid. Also, the writing is a wonder of clarity. Even when we do not agree with such a thinker, we gain in the necessary argument.

Subject: So You Want to Be a Venture Capitalist
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 18:56:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/22/business/yourmoney/22venture.html?ei=5070&en=f7dd8609844c2ded&ex=1116907200&pagewanted=all So You Want to Be a Venture Capitalist By GARY RIVLIN Menlo Park, Calif. BY all rights Stewart Alsop should have been a terrific venture capitalist. So why did Mr. Alsop, long considered a cyber-prophet among technology leaders, wash out in a profession in which he seemed predestined to succeed? In recent months, as venture capital firms have announced the formation of new investment funds, a hot topic among the Silicon Valley cognoscenti has been the exodus of 'tourist V.C.'s,' as people from nonfinancial backgrounds are known here. Some have left the field because they did not pick enough winners; others have gone on to pursue different projects. Whatever the reason, there are hundreds fewer venture capitalists around today than just two years ago. The business of financing start-ups, it turns out, may not be as easy as it seems. 'There are Darwinian characteristics to venture capital,' said C. Richard Kramlich, a founding partner at New Enterprise Associates, a top Valley firm that hired Mr. Alsop in 1996. 'Below the surface there's a huge amount of turnover.' At first Mr. Alsop seemed destined for venture capital greatness. But for him and others who made the leap into venture capital in the second half of the 1990's, the experience proved humbling. A technology journalist dating back to 1983, Mr. Alsop was the founder of Agenda, an invitation-only computer industry conference that drew the likes of Microsoft's Bill Gates. Part of the appeal was that Mr. Alsop had a talent for spotting promising technologies and undiscovered start-ups before others. But Mr. Alsop and New Enterprise Associates parted ways in December. Mr. Alsop said he left because he felt most comfortable working with nascent technology companies, and, increasingly, N.E.A. has been broadening its focus well beyond investing in very small start-ups. He described his own track record over eight years as good but not great. But Mr. Kramlich, who has worked as a venture capitalist since 1969, put it more harshly. The firm, it seemed, had simply run out of patience with Mr. Alsop, as it did with others who were not seen as pulling their weight. N.E.A. has raised a pair of billion-dollar-plus funds over the last five years, sums high enough to have raised the stakes of the game. 'We can't really have people learning on the job anymore,' Mr. Kramlich said. Two-thirds of the partners who were at N.E.A. in 1997 are no longer at the firm, he said, and then cited an internal study that went a long way in explaining why: the surviving third accounted for 85 percent of the firm's profit. Turnover is the story at many well-known venture firms. Consider Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, widely viewed as one of the two premier venture outfits in Silicon Valley. In February 2004, Kleiner began a $400 million fund, but it isn't managed by any of the half dozen or so of the partners who worked for the firm in the late 90's; they had either left the firm or been relegated to secondary roles. Kleiner has hired three new managing partners since the start of the year. And when Benchmark Capital closed its own $400 million fund last June, the firm announced that David Beirne, who had helped found Benchmark in 1995, was no longer a full partner. 'Sometimes it's true that a partner left a firm over strategic differences or whatever they say, but that's the exception rather than the rule,' said Steve Dow, a venture capitalist with Sevin Rosen. More typically, he said, it's 'because they didn't have a good enough sense of smell about a deal.' Mr. Alsop and Mr. Beirne follow many other illustrious names out of major venture firms. Mitchell D. Kapor, the founder of Lotus Development, whose 1-2-3 spreadsheet software made Lotus one of the early giants of software, should have been a natural as a venture capitalist. Mr. Kapor had enormous success investing for himself in barely-formed start-ups like RealNetworks and UUNet Technologies, both of which provided him with staggering payouts. Yet he did not prove to be a star the years he worked as a professional venture capitalist. 'The fact that it's someone else's money you're investing, and that you're investing as part of a partnership, that was more different than I thought it would be,' said Mr. Kapor, who went to work in 1999 for Accel Partners, another top venture house in Silicon Valley. 'I later found out that everybody who makes the transition like I did says that.' Mr. Kapor failed to choose a single company that made him, his partners and their investors any money. He confesses he was 0-for-5 in the investments he made during his three years at Accel. 'Most of us learned the hard way that venture investing is best left to the professionals,' said Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of Netscape Communications. Shortly after America Online paid $4 billion to buy Netscape, Mr. Andreessen helped bankroll a venture firm called 12 Entrepreneuring, a short-lived partnership forged in early 2000 by Benchmark and a pair of successful Internet entrepreneurs, Halsey M. Minor and Eric Greenberg. But 12 Entrepreneuring ceased operations only 18 months after it started, and the partners, including Mr. Andreessen, lost nearly two-thirds of the money they had invested. 'I think what a lot of these guys learned, some the hard way, is that you're a natural athlete or you're not,' said Sanford Robertson, the co-founder and former chairman of the investment bank Robertson, Stephens & Company, who has been investing in venture funds for more than 20 years. 'Some can do it, and some can't, and like with athletes there's no way of telling until they take the field.' At the end of the 90's, it seemed everyone in Silicon Valley wanted to become a venture capitalist (except those who wanted to be entrepreneurs funded by venture capitalists). As the ranks of venture capitalists more than doubled, according to the National Venture Capital Association, from less than 5,000 in 1995 to nearly 10,000 by 2001, firms started hiring people from outside traditional fields like finance or operations. Suddenly many lawyers, entrepreneurs, journalists and executive recruiters were trying their hand at playing venture capitalist - just as today any number of investment bankers, financial analysts and others seem to be starting their own hedge funds. IT'S easy to understand why so many joined the swelling ranks of venture capitalists. A general partner at a top-tier firm typically earns at least $1 million in salary. But the real payoff is what venture capitalists call 'the carry' - the 20 to 30 percent of the profits they share among themselves before disbursing the rest to investors. An informal survey of venture capitalists suggested that a partner working at a top-tier firm in the 90's could pocket roughly $50 million over the life of a single fund - with venture firms typically raising a new fund every few years. Beyond the vast financial rewards, there are the thrills. A venture capitalist is not unlike a movie producer auditioning tomorrow's stars. 'Being a venture capitalist was viewed as a very exciting, top of the feeding chain sort of thing,' said Scott Dettmer, a founding partner at the Silicon Valley law firm Gunderson Dettmer, who has been providing legal advice to venture capitalists since the 1980's. 'But what I think a lot of people learned is that it's not as much fun or as easy as it might have looked from the outside.' Certainly, the early years are often painful. One of the industry's more legendary investors, John Doerr at Kleiner Perkins (his hits include Google, Amazon, Netscape and Sun Microsystems), used to say that training a new venture capitalist was not unlike preparing a fighter pilot for battle: it takes 'probably six to eight years and you should be prepared for losses of about $20 million. 'Of course, while we take risk, we work like hell to avoid crashes,' Mr. Doerr said. By that standard, Mr. Alsop was successful at N.E.A. He didn't lose money in his eight years, and, by his calculations, earned the partnership a 100 percent return on the investments he oversaw. Shortly after his arrival, he persuaded his partners to pay $1.7 million for an ownership stake in a software start-up called Connectify, which was purchased by Kana Communications. That earned the partnership 22 times its money. He could also take some credit for the success of TiVo, the digital video recorder company that went public in September 1999. Mr. Alsop didn't bring that deal to N.E.A., but he worked closely with the company founders as a member of TiVo's board of directors. He said that the TiVo deal had earned N.E.A. and its investors 11 times their investment. 'I think I've done very well as a venture capitalist, but I'm not in the god category,' Mr. Alsop said. He defines a venture god as someone who has made $100 million to $500 million on a single investment. His list of industry deities includes Mr. Doerr, Mr. Kramlich and Michael Moritz at Sequoia Capital, who was an early investor in Google and Yahoo. Mr. Moritz seems to prove the point that there is no obvious résumé for the perfect venture capitalist. Prior to joining Sequoia in 1986, Mr. Moritz was a business journalist and a writer for Time magazine, though one with an M.B.A. Mr. Kramlich, who has a background in finance, said: 'Venture capital doesn't necessarily take a lot of technical talent. 'I mean, it doesn't hurt, but it's more about people skills and the ability to assess whether there's a market for something.' Certainly Mr. Beirne, formerly of Benchmark, has people skills. Before joining Benchmark in 1995, he had a stellar reputation as an executive recruiter able to persuade the most reluctant candidate to switch jobs. Yet how he performed in his nine years as a general partner at Benchmark depends on whom one asks. MR. BEIRNE acknowledged that many in the clubby V.C. world may think he left because of a mediocre track record, but he disputes that perception. 'I have been personally responsible for returning a billion dollars' to investors, he wrote in an e-mail message. He decided to leave the partnership for a 'personal reason related to one of my children' and 'no other reason.' Yet apparently for some, once a venture capitalist, always a venture capitalist. Mr. Alsop is exploring the possibility of raising a fund for new start-ups. 'I feel at this point I'm very good at this,' he said. It's only a matter of time, he said, before he scores what he describes as a 'godlike hit.'

Subject: Re: So You Want to Be a Venture Capitalist
From: Setanta
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 07:38:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
what a way to make your bread. anyone out there feel confident enough to gamble with $500mil to $1bn of investers money? i wouldn't and would sweat blood at the thought of that much responsibility on my shoulders every day for years! i think i'll stick to banking regulation!

Subject: Where are the Birds?
From: Emma
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 12:02:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We need some writing on the birds of Ireland :)

Subject: Re: So You Want to Be a Venture Capitalist
From: Terri
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 10:00:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
You would be terrific at either.

Subject: BMW and a High Design Assembly Line
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 18:49:08 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/22/arts/design/22ouro.html?ei=5070&en=ffd66c6045c6ccb0&ex=1116907200&pagewanted=all At BMW, the Auto Assembly Line Meets High Design By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF Leipzig, Germany OF all of Modernism's sacred cows, few have been more revered - or abused - than the assembly line. At the height of the Modernist movement, the crisp, functional efficiency of this factory staple was a template for everything from housing projects to utopian visions of the metropolis. The new central building at the BMW plant here, designed by the London architect Zaha Hadid, is an antidote to just that sort of mind-numbing, machine-age uniformity. A vast, boomerang-shaped industrial shed with rows of cars streaming by in midair on curving tracks, it is less a model of efficiency than a finely oiled machine for voyeuristic pleasure. In recent years, German automakers have seized on high-profile architecture as a way of bolstering their images. Coop Himmelb(l)au, based in Vienna, is designing a futuristic blend of showrooms, restaurants and shops for a BMW delivery center in Munich; in Stuttgart, the Amsterdam firm UN Studio has designed the Mercedes-Benz Museum, whose interweaving ramps echo the spiral of Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim in Manhattan. Both are scheduled for completion next spring. Yet beyond the obvious marketing value, the Leipzig assembly plant is a sophisticated attempt at social engineering. By creating a fluid work environment in which management, engineers, autoworkers and cars seem intertwined, Ms. Hadid is seeking to break down the hierarchies that have defined the traditional factory. In this world, information flows freely and man and machine live in blissful harmony. And while the sight of glistening black and silver coupes gliding through the air may seem a sci-fi horror to some, it is sure to enchant car fanatics. In many ways, the plant's site on the city's outskirts harks back to old-style Modernism. Even before Ms. Hadid was hired, a team of bulldozers was leveling the area, once farmland, to make room for a vast factory complex - an approach more in keeping with the tabula rasa planning of the postwar years than with the eco-friendly approaches of today. The three main factory buildings - body shop, paint shop and assembly plant - are housed in big prefabricated corrugated metal sheds, generic staples of the industrial landscape. But Ms. Hadid subverts the sequential order of the manufacturing process by having each car loop back through her central building, where autoworkers and engineers can survey their work and, when needed, reconfigure the assembly process. This is ideal territory for this architect. Ever since her student days in the 1970's at the Architectural Association in London, she has been drawn to the vast scale of infrastructure: industrial dams, ribbons of highways, gargantuan urban high-rises. In her 1983 proposal for the Peak, an unbuilt country club in Hong Kong that made her an instant cult figure in architectural circles, buildings resembling big concrete beams looked as if they were about to splinter off into space. Here, all of that feverish energy has been packed inside. Like the surrounding factory buildings, the central structure is wrapped in a taut corrugated-metal skin, but with the corners slightly curved to give it a sleek, contoured look. A bridgelike office structure splits off from the central building and joins two of the factory sheds, framing a small entry courtyard. Supported on massive concrete columns shaped like fins, the office area is engineered like a segment of elevated freeway. But the most dynamic structure here has yet to be built: a low, sloping showroom that will one day be the entrance point for the complex. Arriving from the Autobahn, visitors will slow down to turn past the showroom, then hurtle across a sprawling parking lot set diagonally to the main building. Once they park, they must slip under the office bridge to reach the main entrance, as if they were ricocheting between the buildings. Inside the central building, the first thing that strikes you is the immense scale. Offices are organized as a series of concrete terraces that seem to cascade from one end. A towering stairway sweeps up to a balcony of offices along one side of the room; on the other side, the terraces are linked by a long, narrow ramp. Evoking the silent spacecraft of Stanley Kubrick's '2001,' rows of car bodies stream by on computerized tracks. Because every car is routed through here on its way from the body shop to the paint shop or final assembly plant, you witness them in all their various stages. At certain points, the cars stop and revolve on enormous turntables before heading off in a new direction. The movements are hypnotic, suggesting a mechanical ballet. During shift changes, the sight of hundreds of autoworkers flowing through the corridors adds to the sense of choreography. In traditional automobile plants, of course, car assembly was organized in a linear sequence, with rows of workers and machinery methodically assembling the cars on a factory line, while engineers tinkered away in offices somewhere across town. Together they churned out an endlessly repetitive sequence of cars, one much like the other. Today, a luxury car company like BMW will produce thousands of highly customized cars each week, a process that demands lots of tinkering and intervention. When a new step needs to be added to production, the line can be adjusted with minimal interruption. By channeling all of the work through the central building, Ms. Hadid creates a seamless environment, smoothing that process. The terraces create a kind of loose-knit social hierarchy, breaking down the staff into discrete tiers while allowing engineers to observe or consult with one another without having to pick up a phone. Engineers and workers are in constant contact, too, mingling in the corridors and the cafeteria. Yet the overarching agenda is to keep the eye focused on the machines, with everyone involved in a constant process of fine-tuning. From their office terraces, engineers can step out onto glass-enclosed viewing platforms to watch the huge, swiveling robotic arms that weld the car frames together. Here and there, cars are periodically pulled off the line and examined for defects. And the mechanized tracks converge above the upper-level cafeteria, so that even workers on lunch break are constantly aware of their presence. Ms. Hadid is not the first to approach the automobile plant as part of a broader social experiment. Henry Ford is said to have monitored his assembly line with a stopwatch, seeking to foster worker productivity. Nor is she the first to imbue a factory with sex appeal. In the 1920's in Turin, Italy, Giacomo Mattè-Trucco famously topped the Lingotto Fiat factory with a dynamic rooftop test track. The track summed up the Futurists' obsession with speed, their dream of a society in a state of perpetual motion. Today, such experiments inevitably evoke the dark side of machine worship: the link between Futurism and fascism, for example, and their tendency to reduce human beings to interchangeable parts in a vast, grinding machine. Ms. Hadid is sensitive to these issues. Visually, her early work has all the dynamic energy of a Futurist painting by Boccioni or Balla, but its forms also reflect a desire to reverse Modernism's dehumanizing effects. The patterns of movement in her architecture are about freedom rather than rigid order. Here Ms. Hadid takes on this Modernist past directly and gives it a new twist. The free flow of information replaces the monotony of the assembly line; individual needs and tastes rule over bland repetition; and machines are at the service of man, not vice versa. It's unclear where this vision will lead us, but for now, it's pretty seductive.

Subject: Decoding Health Insurance
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 18:43:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/22/opinion/22cook.html?ei=5070&en=77a9f1553edb10b1&ex=1116907200&pagewanted=all Decoding Health Insurance By ROBIN COOK Boston NEARLY five years ago, President Bill Clinton had an all-star gathering at the White House to announce the completion of the first draft of the human genome's approximately 3.2 billion base pairs. Speaking to an audience that included eminent scientists like Dr. James Watson, who helped discover DNA, Mr. Clinton pronounced that 'today we are learning the language in which God created life.' Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain chimed in via satellite, 'For most of us, today's developments are too awesome to comprehend.' Turns out that Mr. Blair was right, although not quite in the way that he intended. Despite the high-flying talk and the abundant news media coverage of the announcement, the public greeted the event with vague interest, a touch of bewilderment, varying degrees of ennui - and then quickly forgot about it. This general indifference to one of science's landmark achievements has persisted even as the science and technology involved have yielded some remarkable discoveries. We now know, for example, that a vast majority of our genome is composed of repetitive nonsense sequences, and that instead of humans having the 100,000-plus genes previously predicted, we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 25,000, many of which we share with all other living things, a fact that anchors us firmly in the process of evolution (whether a creative intelligence was involved or not). Of course, people can perhaps be forgiven for not wanting to recognize that they don't have many more genes than round worms or fruit flies - a blow to humanity's ego that's about as powerful as Copernicus's discovery that the earth revolved around the sun instead of vice versa. As a doctor schooled to some degree in science, I believed (and still do) that decoding the human genome might be the most important milestone in the history of medical science. To borrow Mr. Clinton's metaphor, the full genome offers researchers the sequence of all the letters of the human book of life, a monumental resource despite our imperfect understanding of the book's overarching, mind-boggling complexity. As decoding gathers speed, it promises to change just about everything we know about medicine in the form of understanding, prediction, prevention, diagnosis and the treatment of disease. And in so doing, it also offers us a remarkable opportunity to solve the huge and nettlesome problem of paying for health care in the United States. Public skepticism of such grandiose statements is understandable. After all, you might say: 'Where are all the touted breakthroughs, the miracle drugs and diagnostic tests, predicted five years ago? Finding out that humans have about the same number and some of the same genes as a worm may be interesting to somebody, but it's hardly a health care revolution, much less worth the more than $3 billion that have so far been spent on decoding.' Well, the drugs are not here yet, although they are on the horizon. But that doesn't diminish the broader fact that the rapidly developing fields of genomics and bioinformatics hold enormous promise. In simple terms, genomics is the study of the flow of information in a cell orchestrated by the genome, while bioinformatics is the application of computers to make sense of the enormous amount of data coming from genomics. Knowledge of the genome has greatly improved our ability to predict an individual's predilection for a host of diseases. Thousands upon thousands of markers have been identified throughout the genome and linked to particular mutated, deleterious genes associated with specific medical problems. The presence of these markers can be determined by placing a single drop of blood onto a particular type of slide called a microarray. Microarrays, in turn, are read automatically by laser scanners and the results, thanks to bioinformatics, can be analyzed instantly by computers armed with appropriate software and statistical data. The importance of a rapid increase in prognostic ability is underlined by the growing understanding that every disease has a greater or lesser genetic component. Patients can now avail themselves of preventive measures or treatment even before symptoms occur. But there is a down side. First of all, we can predict more and more diseases that are associated with progressive disability and death and which have, as of yet, no treatment. Finding a marker linked to such an illness is thus the cruel equivalent of an extended death sentence. Understandably many people would not want such a test and would hardly classify having one as a positive health care breakthrough. Another, and possibly more important, negative consequence of this new ability to predict illness is the potential for discrimination in one form or another if confidential health information is released. Unfortunately the chances of such a breach of privacy occurring, despite lip service by politicians to prevent it legislatively, are probably inevitable. Not only is microarray technology easily accessible, but for-profit private insurance companies have strong incentives to use it to protect their bottom lines by denying service, claims or even coverage. It is precisely this danger, however, that may lead to a great breakthrough: the inevitable movement to universal health care. In this dawning era of genomic medicine, the result may be that the concept of private health insurance, which is based on actuarially pooling risk within specified, fragmented groups, will become obsolete since risk cannot be pooled if it can be determined for individual policyholders. Genetically determined predilection for disease will become the modern equivalent of the 'pre-existing condition' that private insurers have stringently avoided. As a doctor I have always been against health insurance except for catastrophic care and for the very poor. It has been my experience that the doctor-patient relationship is the most personal and rewarding for both the patient and the doctor when a clear, direct fiduciary relationship exists. In such a circumstance, both individuals value the encounter more, which invariably leads to more time, more attention to potentially important details, and a higher level of patient compliance and satisfaction - all of which invariably result in a better outcome. But with the end of pooling risk within defined groups, there is only one solution to the problem of paying for health care in the United States: to pool risk for the entire nation. (Under the rubric of health care I mean a comprehensive package that includes preventive care, acute care and catastrophic care.) Although I never thought I'd advocate a government-sponsored, obviously non-profit, tax-supported, universal access, single-payer plan, I've changed my mind: the sooner we move to such a system, the better off we will be. Only with universal health care will we be able to pool risk for the entire country and share what nature has dealt us; only then will there be no motivation for anyone or any organization to ferret out an individual's confidential, genetic makeup. There are plenty of compelling arguments for a national, single-payer, universal access plan - like every developed industrialized country has one. But those arguments have so far seemed insufficient. And none of them is nearly as cogent and persuasive as the growing impact of genomics and bioinformatics. Of course, far too many wealthy stakeholders in the current system (thanks to 15 percent of our gross domestic product being thrown at health care) are eager to lobby members of Congress to keep things as they are. The basic challenge is to blast the public and their elected representatives out of their shared apathy toward what the decipherment of the human genome has brought. The day after the White House ceremony in 2000, one letter-writer to this newspaper expressed the wish that the United States would devote the same amount of enthusiasm and resources that it had expended on the human genome project toward the goal of 'assuring access to basic medical care for all Americans.' If the money spent on the genome ends up achieving that health care goal, that wish may yet come true.

Subject: Coal Plants Could Be Much Cleaner
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 16:57:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/22/business/yourmoney/22coal.html?pagewanted=all Dirty Secret: Coal Plants Could Be Much Cleaner By KENNETH J. STIER ALMOST a decade ago, Tampa Electric opened an innovative power plant that turned coal, the most abundant but the dirtiest fossil fuel, into a relatively clean gas, which it burns to generate electricity. Not only did the plant emit significantly less pollution than a conventional coal-fired power plant, but it was also 10 percent more efficient. Hazel R. O'Leary, the secretary of energy at the time, went to the plant, situated between Tampa and Orlando, and praised it for ushering in a 'new era for clean energy from coal.' Federal officials still refer to the plant's 'integrated gasification combined cycle' process as a 'core technology' for the future, especially because of its ability - eventually - to all but eliminate the greenhouse gases linked to global warming. Since that plant opened, however, not a single similar plant has been built in the United States. Abundant supplies of natural gas - a bit cleaner and, until recently, a lot cheaper - stood in the way. But even now, with gas prices following oil prices into the stratosphere and power companies turning back to coal, most new plants - about nine out of 10 on the drawing board - will not use integrated gasification combined-cycle technology. The reason is fairly simple. A plant with the low-pollution, high-efficiency technology demonstrated at the Tampa Electric plant is about 20 percent more expensive to build than a conventional plant that burns pulverized coal. This complicates financing, especially in deregulated markets, while elsewhere utilities must persuade regulators to set aside their customary standard of requiring utilities to use their lowest-cost alternatives. (A federal grant of $143 million covered about a fourth of the construction cost of the Tampa Electric plant, which was originally a demonstration project.) The technology's main long-term advantage - the ability to control greenhouse gas emissions - is not winning over many utilities because the country does not yet regulate those gases. That could be a problem for future national policy, critics say, because the plants being planned today will have a lifetime of a half-century or more. 'It's a very frightening specter that we are going to essentially lock down our carbon emissions for the next 50 years before we have another chance to think about it again,' said Jason S. Grumet, the executive director of the National Commission on Energy Policy. The commission, an independent, bipartisan advisory body, has recommended that the federal government spend an additional $4 billion over 10 years to speed the power industry's acceptance of the technology. In a recent report, the commission concluded that 'the future of coal and the success of greenhouse gas mitigation policies may well hinge to a large extent on whether this technology can be successfully commercialized and deployed over the next 20 years.' Mr. Grumet was more succinct. Integrated gasification combined cycle technology, combined with the sequestration of carbon stripped out in the process, 'is as close to a silver bullet as you're ever going to see, ' he said. Until Congress regulates carbon emissions - a move that many in the industry consider inevitable, but unlikely soon - gasification technology will catch on only as its costs gradually come down. Edward Lowe, general manager of gasification for GE Energy, a division of General Electric that works with Bechtel to build integrated gasification combined-cycle plants, said that would happen as more plants were built. The premium should disappear entirely after the first dozen or so are completed, he added. Even now, Mr. Lowe said, the technology offers operational cost savings that offset some of the higher construction costs. And if Congress eventually does limit carbon emissions, as many utility executives say they expect it to do, the technology's operational advantages could make it a bargain. James E. Rogers, the chief executive of Cinergy, a heavily coal-dependent Midwestern utility, is one of the technology's biggest industry supporters. 'I'm making a bet on gasification,' he said, because he assumes a carbon-constrained world is inevitable. 'I don't see any other way forward,' he said. The operating savings of such plants start with more efficient combustion: they make use of at least 15 percent more of the energy released by burning coal than conventional plants do, so less fuel is needed. The plants also need about 40 percent less water than conventional coal plants, a significant consideration in arid Western states. But for some people, including Mr. Rogers and other utility leaders who anticipate stricter pollution limits, the primary virtue of integrated gasification combined-cycle plants is their ability to chemically strip pollutants from gasified coal more efficiently and cost-effectively, before it is burned, rather than trying to filter it out of exhaust. Proponents say that half of coal's pollutants - including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which contribute to acid rain and smog - can be chemically stripped out before combustion. So can about 95 percent of the mercury in coal, at about a tenth the cost of trying to scrub it from exhaust gases racing up a smokestack. The biggest long-term draw for gasification technology is its ability to capture carbon before combustion. If greenhouse-gas limits are enacted, that job will be much harder and more expensive to do with conventional coal-fired plants. Mr. Lowe, the G.E. executive, estimated that capturing carbon would add about 25 percent to the cost of electricity from a combined-cycle plant burning gasified coal, but that it would add 70 percent to the price of power from conventional plants. Gasification technology, although new to the power sector, has been widely used in the chemical industry for decades, and the general manager of the gasification plant run by Tampa Electric, Mark Hornick, said it was not difficult to train his employees to run the plant. Tampa Electric is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy of Tampa. Disposing of the carbon dioxide gas stripped out in the process, however, is another matter. Government laboratories have experimented with dissolving the gas in saline aquifers or pumping it into geologic formations under the sea. The petroleum industry has long injected carbon dioxide into oil fields to help push more crude to the surface. Refining and commercializing these techniques is a significant part of a $35 billion package of clean energy incentives that the National Commission on Energy Policy is recommending. The Senate considered some of those ideas in a big energy policy bill last week, but it is doubtful whether Congress will approve the funds to enact them because they are tied to regulating carbon emissions for the first time, something that many industry leaders and sympathetic lawmakers oppose. Still, the energy bill may have some incentives for industry to adopt gasification technology, and the Department of Energy will continue related efforts. These include FutureGen, a $950 million project to demonstrate gasification's full potential - not just for power plants but as a source of low-carbon liquid fuels for cars and trucks as well, and, further out, as a source of hydrogen fuel. REGARDLESS of the politics of carbon caps, the Energy Department has made it clear that it intends to push the development of integrated gasification combined-cycle technology. Last month, for example, Mark Maddox, a deputy assistant secretary, said at an industry gathering that the technology 'is needed in the mix - needed now.' Some industry leaders are skeptical, to say the least. 'We would not want to put all of our eggs in one basket as far as a single technology is concerned,' said William Fang, deputy counsel for the Edison Electric Institute, a trade association whose members, shareholder-owned utilities, account for three-quarters of the country's generating capacity. Besides, he added, many of his members think that mandatory carbon controls, in place in much of the world since the Kyoto Protocol came into force in February, can be kept at bay in the United States - possibly indefinitely. It's a risky strategy - for industry and for the climate. 'Coal-fired plants are big targets,' said Judi Greenwald of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, 'and if we do get serious about climate change, they are going to be on the list of things to do quite early.'

Subject: China, the World's Capital
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 16:21:38 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/22/opinion/22kristof.html?hp China, the World's Capital By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF KAIFENG, China As this millennium dawns, New York City is the most important city in the world, the unofficial capital of planet Earth. But before we New Yorkers become too full of ourselves, it might be worthwhile to glance at dilapidated Kaifeng in central China. Kaifeng, an ancient city along the mud-clogged Yellow River, was by far the most important place in the world in 1000. And if you've never heard of it, that's a useful warning for Americans - as the Chinese headline above puts it, in a language of the future that many more Americans should start learning, 'glory is as ephemeral as smoke and clouds.' As the world's only superpower, America may look today as if global domination is an entitlement. But if you look back at the sweep of history, it's striking how fleeting supremacy is, particularly for individual cities. My vote for most important city in the world in the period leading up to 2000 B.C. would be Ur, Iraq. In 1500 B.C., perhaps Thebes, Egypt. There was no dominant player in 1000 B.C., though one could make a case for Sidon, Lebanon. In 500 B.C., it would be Persepolis, Persia; in the year 1, Rome; around A.D. 500, maybe Changan, China; in 1000, Kaifeng, China; in 1500, probably Florence, Italy; in 2000, New York City; and in 2500, probably none of the above. Today Kaifeng is grimy and poor, not even the provincial capital and so minor it lacks even an airport. Its sad state only underscores how fortunes change. In the 11th century, when it was the capital of Song Dynasty China, its population was more than one million. In contrast, London's population then was about 15,000. An ancient 17-foot painted scroll, now in the Palace Museum in Beijing, shows the bustle and prosperity of ancient Kaifeng. Hundreds of pedestrians jostle each other on the streets, camels carry merchandise in from the Silk Road, and teahouses and restaurants do a thriving business. Kaifeng's stature attracted people from all over the world, including hundreds of Jews. Even today, there are some people in Kaifeng who look like other Chinese but who consider themselves Jewish and do not eat pork. As I roamed the Kaifeng area, asking local people why such an international center had sunk so low, I encountered plenty of envy of New York. One man said he was arranging to be smuggled into the U.S. illegally, by paying a gang $25,000, but many local people insisted that China is on course to bounce back and recover its historic role as world leader. 'China is booming now,' said Wang Ruina, a young peasant woman on the outskirts of town. 'Give us a few decades and we'll catch up with the U.S., even pass it.' She's right. The U.S. has had the biggest economy in the world for more than a century, but most projections show that China will surpass us in about 15 years, as measured by purchasing power parity. So what can New York learn from a city like Kaifeng? One lesson is the importance of sustaining a technological edge and sound economic policies. Ancient China flourished partly because of pro-growth, pro-trade policies and technological innovations like curved iron plows, printing and paper money. But then China came to scorn trade and commerce, and per capita income stagnated for 600 years. A second lesson is the danger of hubris, for China concluded it had nothing to learn from the rest of the world - and that was the beginning of the end. I worry about the U.S. in both regards. Our economic management is so lax that we can't confront farm subsidies or long-term budget deficits. Our technology is strong, but American public schools are second-rate in math and science. And Americans' lack of interest in the world contrasts with the restlessness, drive and determination that are again pushing China to the forefront. Beside the Yellow River I met a 70-year-old peasant named Hao Wang, who had never gone to a day of school. He couldn't even write his name - and yet his progeny were different. 'Two of my grandsons are now in university,' he boasted, and then he started talking about the computer in his home. Thinking of Kaifeng should stimulate us to struggle to improve our high-tech edge, educational strengths and pro-growth policies. For if we rest on our laurels, even a city as great as New York may end up as Kaifeng-on-the-Hudson.

Subject: Re: China, the World's Capital
From: Setanta
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 11:01:58 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
amazing parallels drawn in this article. i guarantee you that if america keeps neglecting education like it has for the past 5 years or so, the US will be passed by the majority of the world. a diet of OC and MTV Pimp my Ride will do nothing for american competitiveness. america needs to rediscover its drive and ambition. remember, america's victory (soft power crucially, not military)over the USSR in the 1980's was derived from work done in the 1950's and 1960's. i am glad i grew up in a world where global safety was guaranteed by the US. and most of the world is eternally grateful for the security the US provided. the thought of growing up in a world where the USSR, Nazi Germany, Arab Religous Totalitarianism or Chinese Socialism is the supreme superpower makes me shudder. we need the US; the torch of Liberty, Democracy and Justice, to succeed. we need to prove that the democratic capitalist model works and is the best. the world needs the US to pull up its socks!

Subject: On a Christian Mission to the Top
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 14:26:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/22/national/class/EVANGELICALS-FINAL.html?pagewanted=all On a Christian Mission to the Top By LAURIE GOODSTEIN and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK For a while last winter, Tim Havens, a recent graduate of Brown University and now an evangelical missionary there, had to lead his morning prayer group in a stairwell of the campus chapel. That was because workers were clattering in to remake the lower floor for a display of American Indian art, and a Buddhist student group was chanting in the small sanctuary upstairs. Like most of the Ivy League universities, Brown was founded by Protestant ministers as an expressly Christian college. But over the years it gradually shed its religious affiliation and became a secular institution, as did the other Ivies. In addition to Buddhists, the Brown chaplain's office now recognizes 'heathen/pagan' as a 'faith community.' But these days evangelical students like those in Mr. Havens's prayer group are becoming a conspicuous presence at Brown. Of a student body of 5,700, about 400 participate in one of three evangelical student groups - more than the number of active mainline Protestants, the campus chaplain says. And these students are in the vanguard of a larger social shift not just on campuses but also at golf resorts and in boardrooms; they are part of an expanding beachhead of evangelicals in the American elite. The growing power and influence of evangelical Christians is manifest everywhere these days, from the best-seller lists to the White House, but in fact their share of the general population has not changed much in half a century. Most pollsters agree that people who identify themselves as white evangelical Christians make up about a quarter of the population, just as they have for decades. What has changed is the class status of evangelicals. In 1929, the theologian H. Richard Niebuhr described born-again Christianity as the 'religion of the disinherited.' But over the last 40 years, evangelicals have pulled steadily closer in income and education to mainline Protestants in the historically affluent establishment denominations. In the process they have overturned the old social pecking order in which 'Episcopalian,' for example, was a code word for upper class, and 'fundamentalist' or 'evangelical' shorthand for lower. Evangelical Christians are now increasingly likely to be college graduates and in the top income brackets. Evangelical C.E.O.'s pray together on monthly conference calls, evangelical investment bankers study the Bible over lunch on Wall Street and deep-pocketed evangelical donors gather at golf courses for conferences restricted to those who give more than $200,000 annually to Christian causes. Their growing wealth and education help explain the new influence of evangelicals in American culture and politics. Their buying power fuels the booming market for Christian books, music and films. Their rising income has paid for construction of vast mega-churches in suburbs across the country. Their charitable contributions finance dozens of mission agencies, religious broadcasters and international service groups. On The Chronicle of Philanthropy's latest list of the 400 top charities, Campus Crusade for Christ, an evangelical student group, raised more from private donors than the Boy Scouts of America, the Public Broadcasting Service and Easter Seals. Now a few affluent evangelicals are directing their attention and money at some of the tallest citadels of the secular elite: Ivy League universities. Three years ago a group of evangelical Ivy League alumni formed the Christian Union, an organization intended to 'reclaim the Ivy League for Christ,' according to its fund-raising materials, and to 'shape the hearts and minds of many thousands who graduate from these schools and who become the elites in other American cultural institutions.' The Christian Union has bought and maintains new evangelical student centers at Brown, Princeton and Cornell, and has plans to establish a center on every Ivy League campus. In April, 450 students, alumni and supporters met in Princeton for an 'Ivy League Congress on Faith and Action.' A keynote speaker was Charles W. Colson, the born-again Watergate felon turned evangelical thinker. Matt Bennett, founder of the Christian Union, told the conference, 'I love these universities - Princeton and all the others, my alma mater, Cornell - but it really grieves me and really hurts me to think of where they are now.' The Christian Union's immediate goal, he said, was to recruit campus missionaries. 'What is happening now is good,' Mr. Bennett said, 'but it is like a finger in the dike of keeping back the flood of immorality.' And trends in the Ivy League today could shape the culture for decades to come, he said. 'So many leaders come out of these campuses. Seven of the nine Supreme Court justices are Ivy League grads; four of the seven Massachusetts Supreme Court justices; Christian ministry leaders; so many presidents, as you know; leaders of business - they are everywhere.' He added, 'If we are going to change the world, we have got, by God's power, to see these campuses radically changed.' An Outsider on Campus Mr. Havens, who graduated from Brown last year, is the kind of missionary the Christian Union hopes to enlist. An evangelical from what he calls a 'solidly middle class' family in the Midwest, he would have been an anomaly at Brown a couple of generations ago. He applied there, he said, out of a sense of 'nonconformity' and despite his mother's preference that he attend a Christian college. 'She just was nervous about, and rightfully so, what was going to happen to me freshman year,' Mr. Havens recalled. When he arrived at Brown, in Providence, R.I., Mr. Havens was astounded to find that the biggest campus social event of the fall was the annual SexPowerGod dance, sponsored by the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Alliance and advertised with dining-hall displays depicting pairs of naked men or women. 'Why do they have to put God in the name?' he said. 'It seems kind of disrespectful.' Mr. Havens found himself a double outsider of sorts. In addition to being devoted to his faith, he was a scholarship student at a university where half the students can afford $45,000 in tuition and fees without recourse to financial aid and where, he said, many tend to 'spend money like water.' But his modest means did not stand out as much as his efforts to guard his morals. He did not drink, and he almost never cursed. And he was determined to stay 'pure' until marriage, though he did not lack for attention from female students. Just as his mother feared, Mr. Havens, a broad-shouldered former wrestler with tousled brown hair and a guileless smile, wavered some his freshman year and dated several classmates. 'I was just like, 'Oh, I can get this girl to like me,' ' he recalled. ' 'Oh, she likes me; she's cute.' And so it was a lot of fairly short and meaningless relationships. It was pretty destructive.' In his sophomore year, though, his evangelical a cappella singing group, a Christian twist on an old Ivy League tradition, interceded. With its support, he rededicated himself to serving God, and by his senior year he was running his own Bible-study group, hoping to inoculate first-year students against the temptations he had faced. They challenged one another, Mr. Havens said, 'committing to remain sexually pure, both in a physical sense and in avoiding pornography and ogling women and like that.' Mr. Havens is now living in a house owned and supported by the Christian Union and is trying to reach not just other evangelicals but nonbelievers as well. Prayers in the Boardrooms The Christian Union is the brainchild of Matt Bennett, 40, who earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Cornell and later directed the Campus Crusade for Christ at Princeton. Mr. Bennett, tall and soft-spoken, with a Texas drawl that waxes and wanes depending on the company he is in, said he got the idea during a 40-day water-and-juice fast, when he heard God speaking to him one night in a dream. 'He was speaking to me very strongly that he wanted to see an increasing and dramatic spiritual revival in a place like Princeton,' Mr. Bennett said. While working for Campus Crusade, Mr. Bennett had discovered that it was hard to recruit evangelicals to minister to the elite colleges of the Northeast because the environment was alien to them and the campuses often far from their homes. He also found that the evangelical ministries were hobbled without adequate salaries to attract professional staff members and without centers of their own where students could gather, socialize and study the Bible. Jews had Hillel Houses, and Roman Catholics had Newman Centers. He thought evangelicals should have their own houses, too, and began a furious round of fund-raising to buy or build some. An early benefactor was his twin brother, Monty, who had taken over the Dallas hotel empire their father built from a single Holiday Inn and who had donated a three-story Victorian in a neighborhood near Brown. To raise more money, Matt Bennett has followed a grapevine of affluent evangelicals around the country, winding up even in places where evangelicals would have been a rarity just a few decades ago. In Manhattan, for example, he visited Wall Street boardrooms and met with the founder of Socrates in the City, a roundtable for religious intellectuals that gathers monthly at places like the Algonquin Hotel and the Metropolitan Club. Those meetings introduced him to an even more promising pool of like-minded Christians, the New Canaan Group, a Friday morning prayer breakfast typically attended by more than a hundred investment bankers and other professionals. The breakfasts started in the Connecticut home of a partner in Goldman, Sachs but grew so large that they had to move to a local church. Like many other evangelicals, some members attend churches that adhere to evangelical doctrine but that remain affiliated with mainline denominations. Other donors to the Christian Union are members of local elites across the Bible Belt. Not long ago, for example, Mr. Bennett paid a visit to Montgomery, Ala., for lunch with Julian L. McPhillips Jr., a wealthy Princeton alumnus and the managing partner of a local law firm. Mr. Bennett, wearing an orange Princeton tie, said he wanted to raise enough money for the Christian Union to hire someone to run a 'healing ministry' for students with depression, eating disorders or drug or alcohol addiction. Mr. McPhillips, who shares Mr. Bennett's belief in the potential of faith healing, remarked that he had once cured an employee's migraine headaches just by praying for him. 'We joke in my office that we don't need health insurance,' he told Mr. Bennett before writing a check for $1,000. Mr. Bennett's database has so far grown to about 5,000 names gathered by word of mouth alone. They are mostly Ivy League graduates whose regular alumni contributions he hopes to channel into the Christian Union. And these Ivy League evangelicals, in turn, are just a small fraction of the large number of their affluent fellow believers. Gaining on the Mainline Their commitment to their faith is confounding a long-held assumption that, like earlier generations of Baptists or Pentecostals, prosperous evangelicals would abandon their religious ties or trade them for membership in establishment churches. Instead, they have kept their traditionalist beliefs, and their churches have even attracted new members from among the well-off. Meanwhile, evangelical Protestants are pulling closer to their mainline counterparts in class and education. As late as 1965, for example, a white mainline Protestant was two and a half times as likely to have a college degree as a white evangelical, according to an analysis by Prof. Corwin E. Smidt, a political scientist at Calvin College, an evangelical institution in Grand Rapids, Mich. But by 2000, a mainline Protestant was only 65 percent more likely to have the same degree. And since 1985, the percentage of incoming freshmen at highly selective private universities who said they were born-again also rose by half, to 11 or 12 percent each year from 7.3 percent, according to the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. To many evangelical Christians, the reason for their increasing worldly success and cultural influence is obvious: God's will at work. Some also credit leaders like the midcentury intellectual Carl F. H. Henry, who helped to found a large and influential seminary, a glossy evangelical Christian magazine and the National Association of Evangelicals, a powerful umbrella group that now includes 51 denominations. Dr. Henry and his followers implored believers to look beyond their churches and fight for a place in the American mainstream. There were also demographic forces at work, beginning with the G.I. Bill, which sent a pioneering generation of evangelicals to college. Probably the greatest boost to the prosperity of evangelicals as a group came with the Sun Belt expansion of the 1970's and the Texas oil boom, which brought new wealth and businesses to the regions where evangelical churches had been most heavily concentrated. The most striking example of change in how evangelicals see themselves and their place in the world may be the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination. It was founded in Hot Springs, Ark., in 1914 by rural and working-class Christians who believed that the Holy Spirit had moved them to speak in tongues. Shunned by established churches, they became a sect of outsiders, and their preachers condemned worldly temptations like dancing, movies, jewelry and swimming in public pools. But like the Southern Baptists and other conservative denominations, the Assemblies gradually dropped their separatist strictures as their membership prospered and spread. As the denomination grew, Assemblies preachers began speaking not only of heavenly rewards but also of the material blessings God might provide in this world. The notion was controversial in some evangelical circles but became widespread nonetheless, and it made the Assemblies' faith more compatible with an upwardly mobile middle class. By the 1970's, Assemblies churches were sprouting up in affluent suburbs across the country. Recent surveys by Margaret Poloma, a historian at the University of Akron in Ohio, found Assemblies members more educated and better off than the general public. As they flourished, evangelical entrepreneurs and strivers built a distinctly evangelical business culture of prayer meetings, self-help books and business associations. In some cities outside the Northeast, evangelical business owners list their names in Christian yellow pages. The rise of evangelicals has also coincided with the gradual shift of most of them from the Democratic Party to the Republican and their growing political activism. The conservative Christian political movement seldom developed in poor, rural Bible Belt towns. Instead, its wellsprings were places like the Rev. Ed Young's booming mega-church in suburban Houston or the Rev. Timothy LaHaye's in Orange County, Calif., where evangelical professionals and businessmen had the wherewithal to push back against the secular culture by organizing boycotts, electing school board members and lobbying for conservative judicial appointments. 'A Bunch of Heathens' Mr. Havens, the Brown missionary, is part of the upsurge of well-educated born-again Christians. He grew up in one of the few white households in a poor black neighborhood of St. Louis, where his parents had moved to start a church, which failed to take off. Mr. Havens's father never graduated from college. After being laid off from his job at a marketing company two years ago, he now works in an insurance company's software and systems department. Tim Havens's mother home-schooled the family's six children for at least a few years each. Mr. Havens got through Brown on scholarships and loans, and at graduation was $25,000 in debt. To return to campus for his missionary year and pay his expenses, he needed to raise an additional $36,000, and on the advice of Geoff Freeman, the head of the Brown branch of Campus Crusade, he did his fund-raising in St. Louis. 'It is easy to sell New England in the Midwest,' as Mr. Freeman put it later. Midwesterners, he said, see New Englanders as 'a bunch of heathens.' So Mr. Havens drove home each day from a summer job at a stone supply warehouse to work the phone from his cluttered childhood bedroom. He told potential donors that many of the American-born students at Brown had never even been to church, to say nothing of the students from Asia or the Middle East. 'In a sense, it is pre-Christian,' he explained. Among his family's friends, however, encouragement was easier to come by than cash. As the summer came to a close, Mr. Havens was still $6,000 short. He decided to give himself a pay cut and go back to Brown with what he had raised, trusting God to take care of his needs just as he always had when money seemed scarce during college. 'God owns the cattle on a thousand hills,' he often told himself. 'God has plenty of money.' Thanks to the Christian Union, Mr. Haven's present quarters as a ministry intern at Brown are actually more upscale than his home in St. Louis. On Friday nights, he is a host for a Bible-study and dinner party for 70 or 80 Christian students, who serve themselves heaping plates of pasta before breaking into study groups. Afterward, they regroup in the living room for board games and goofy improvisation contests, all free of profanity and even double entendre. Lately, though, Mr. Havens has been contemplating steps that would take him away from Brown and campus ministry. After a chaste romance - 'I didn't kiss her until I asked her to marry me,' he said - he recently became engaged to a missionary colleague, Liz Chalmers. He has been thinking about how to support the children they hope to have. And he has been considering the example of his future father-in-law, Daniel Chalmers, a Baptist missionary to the Philippines who ended up building power plants there and making a small fortune. Mr. Chalmers has been a steady donor to Christian causes, and he bought a plot of land in Oregon, where he plans to build a retreat center. 'God has always used wealthy people to help the church,' Mr. Havens said. He pointed out that in the Bible, rich believers helped support the apostles, just as donors to the Christian Union are investing strategically in the Ivy League today. With those examples and his own father in mind, Mr. Havens chose medicine over campus ministry. He scored well on his medical school entrance exams and, after another year at Brown, he will head to St. Louis University School of Medicine. At the Christian Union conference in April, he was pleased to hear doctors talk about praying with their patients and traveling as medical missionaries. He is looking forward to having the money a medical degree can bring, and especially to putting his children through college without the scholarships and part-time jobs he needed. But whether he becomes rich, he said, 'will depend on how much I keep.' Like other evangelicals of his generation, he means to take his faith with him as he makes his way in the world. He said his roommates at Brown had always predicted that he would 'sell out'- loosen up about his faith and adopt their taste for new cars, new clothes and the other trappings of the upper class. He didn't at Brown and he thinks he never will. 'So far so good,' he said. But he admitted, 'I don't have any money yet.'

Subject: Dollar Up, Dollar Down
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 14:13:39 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
No matter the near term direction of the dollar, I would argue as well the dollar will decline in value. There is minimal household saving and a fierce structural government deficit that are driving a trade deficit. Where can the dollar go but down in time? However no near term increase in the value of dollar should surprise us. When everyone is sure of a market direction, as with the dollar in January, there may well be surprises at least for a time.

Subject: Re: Dollar Up, Dollar Down
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 14:50:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Now, I am told I am wrong about the dollar. How exactly does it weaken? Well, the dollar will likely increase in value at least for a while against the Euro in light of European growth weakness even if the European Constitution is approved by the French and the Dutch. Then there is the Chinese peg against the dollar, and the likelihood that other Asian banks will not wish to have appreciating currencies against the dollar if China keeps the peg. China is opting for export taxes and a change in the peg if it happens will likely be a small change. Japan? Japan is just not about to allow a marked strengthening of the Yen against the dollar until there really is robust growth than last more than a quarter. So, what was I writing about? Darn, I understand, where does a weaker dollar come from?

Subject: Re: Dollar Up, Dollar Down
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 17:13:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
If you are a currency trader or concerned about Boeing's competition with Airbus for commercial aircraft business you focus on the relative decline or rise between currencies. If you are concerned about the power of American paychecks, you focus on how many dollars it takes to buy or build a house, pay for heating for your home and gas for the suv, send your kid to college, buy a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread. If 70% of our economy depends on the buying power of the US consumer - there is where the buying power of the dollar becomes important.

Subject: Re: Dollar Up, Dollar Down
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 17:54:18 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Agreed. But, we must think clearly again of the value of the dollar. I am not at all sure the dollar will decline in value anytime soon. There is much more to be argued, and importantly.

Subject: Supply & demand
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 20:32:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Increasing supply of dollars without a corresponding increasing demand for dollar denominated assets (US products & services, resources, real estate, stocks, bonds, etc) results in a falling dollar. A steady supply of dollars with a corresponding selloff in dollar denominated assets results in a falling dollar. The opposite scenario, as we had with greater demand for US assets in the late 90's when the world was piling into US assets (US stock markets), results a strengthening of the dollar. Recently we have had a slight drop in money supply in the first half of 2005 and demand for US assets, including the main supporting asset (housing), has remained strong. So we have had a short term strengthening of the dollar.

Subject: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general)
From: Paul G. Brown
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 01:37:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'2. Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults. Maureen Dowd was still writing that Alberto R. Gonzales 'called the Geneva Conventions 'quaint' ' nearly two months after a correction in the news pages noted that Gonzales had specifically applied the term to Geneva provisions about commissary privileges, athletic uniforms and scientific instruments. Before his retirement in January, William Safire vexed me with his chronic assertion of clear links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, based on evidence only he seemed to possess. No one deserves the personal vituperation that regularly comes Dowd's way, and some of Krugman's enemies are every bit as ideological (and consequently unfair) as he is. But that doesn't mean that their boss, publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., shouldn't hold his columnists to higher standards. I didn't give Krugman, Dowd or Safire the chance to respond before writing the last two paragraphs. I decided to impersonate an opinion columnist.' To my knowledge Krugman bolloxed up one set of numbers that related to taxation as a % of GDP over the period of the Reagan Presidency. On several occasions I looked critically at a PK column through the lens of Luskin's criticism but usually found a) what Luskin was labelling a 'lie' was usually Luskin's complaint that some factor secondary to the main argument was being ignored, or else b) more evidence to support the conclusion that Luskin's a functional innumerate. I note that Okrent doesn't provide one iota of evidence to back up his claim, unlike with Dowd and Safire where he does. And from the fact that a column is attacked it does not follow that what the column says is wrong, or even unfair. To precisely what 'higher standard' does Okrent believe Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. should hold PK?

Subject: Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general)
From: Auros
To: Paul G. Brown
Date Posted: Tues, May 24, 2005 at 12:57:24 (EDT)
Email Address: rmharman@auros.org

Message:
Check this out: http://dailyhowler.com/dh052305.shtml Scroll down to 'Special report: Exit Okrent!'

Subject: Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general)
From: Terri
To: Paul G. Brown
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 06:02:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Dear Paul G. Brown Please explain this post a bit more. Paul Krugman is probably the finest columnist in America; definitely the finest economic columnist. There is a wonderful precision and clarity and significance to the writing, and certainly a courage. I do not find an ideology to the writing, other than the wish to always be honest and precise. Critics from the far far right are not honest and should be of no account. I love the New York Times, but I can not bear to read Dan Okrent, for I do not need any such stultifying critic of critics to help me read properly. I have learned how to read. Please explain this sentence, for I did not catch a mistake: 'To my knowledge Krugman bolloxed up one set of numbers that related to taxation as a % of GDP over the period of the Reagan Presidency.' Thank you so much.

Subject: Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general)
From: Paul G. Brown
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 15:04:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Terri - My instinct is always to give people 'the benefit of the doubt' until such time as they have lost any claim to such benefit (see: Luskin, D). I even give 'Critics from the far far right' the time of day because they often have interesting things to say, even if what they're saying is only interesting from a 'what are they thinking' perspective. In this final column Okrent does make some good points. Whatever else you think about Judith Miller's competence as a journalist, she is showing a measure of integrity by electing to go to jail rather than burn a source (as she sees it) even if that source comitted a crime. And Okrent provides well supported evidence of Dowd & Safire's shortcomings. My complaint is that he provides not one shred of evidence to support his contention that any of the numbers in PK's many columns are incorrect, or misleading. All he does is complain that he's had a lot of complaints. Over on Poor and Stupid, Luskin's just held up his hand and declared that HE is the one Okrent is pointing the finger at. (And then below he complains that PK 'lies' in his 05/09/2005 column when he says that his preferred numbers show that 'middle income' earners are only $3500 worse off rather than $5500 worse off as a consequence of the Bush tax cuts and Social Security reforms ... sheesh.) PK did make a mistake back on 06.08.2004 in his column on Reagan's tax policy. He misreported tax rates at the beginning of the Reagan administration. The corrected numbers, though, don't alter his argument: Reagan wasn't a great lifter of the nation's tax burden. He simply shifted the burden from the upper to the middle and lower classes. But it was a mistake. And PK corrected it.

Subject: Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general)
From: Paul G. Brown
To: Paul G. Brown
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 12:25:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I note that Brad DeLong this morning delivered Daniel Okrent a pair of almighty smackdowns. Turns out that DO's example of MD's perfidity wasn't an example of perfidity at all. Rather, it was a pretty reasonable reflection of Gonzales' opinions on the 'obselete' Geneva accords. DeLong cites the Attorney General's original language. Ignorance. Bliss. Mine in this case.

Subject: Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general)
From: Emma
To: Paul G. Brown
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 15:05:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Maureen Dowd knows what she writes about, though a fair number of men seem to object to a woman columnist.

Subject: Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general)
From: Paul G. Brown
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 16:16:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Not sure it's a gender thing, with Dowd. Although the lack of other female voices on the op-ed pages of the NYT means we've little to contrast her with. I am constantly delighted by the wit and insight of Molly Ivins, for example, and I liked what I read of Anna Quindlen. There are lots of good columnists out there who happen to be women - Katrina Vanden Heuvel on the left, and I'll confess an admiration for Peggy Noonan's work (even if columns on high heels in Washington leave me a bit cold). But I think Dowd is a, well, a lightweight. It's all very well to 'know what you write about'. I just wish she'd write something I remembered for more than 10 minutes. Or invoke an emotion that lingered. Maybe it's just me.

Subject: Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general)
From: Emma
To: Paul G. Brown
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 17:53:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Of course, my friends and I will remember selected Maureen Dowd columns indefinitely. A Pulitzer Prize winning columnist who is wildly popular among women [funny that]. Peggy Noonan? Oh dear. A quaint idea in what it is to be a 'lightweight.'

Subject: Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general)
From: Terri
To: Paul G. Brown
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 16:26:46 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Yes; I found the column and as you, I remember the mistake. You are right to make it a rule to consider several perspectives. I am growing in this direction, I hope....

Subject: Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general)
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 06:09:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is simply no equal in economics commentary to Paul Krugman, possibly no equal in general commentary. I do wish the New York Times could find another such columnist for there have been others in the past as Lewis and Baker and Quindlen. Herbert, Dowd, Rich and Friedman are helpful but none writes with the depth of knowledge in a particular subject as Krugman does.

Subject: Re: Okrent on Krugman (Well, op eds in general)
From: Emma
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 12:26:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Happily, Danny Okrent is as of this day leaving the New York Times. Since he was supposed to have been our representative, I should like to say he most certainly has never been my representative and I could not be more pleased that he is gone. The attack on Paul Krugman was only part of the gratitutious distasteful attacks on New York Times writers and editors. Thoroughly disgraceful.

Subject: I wonder......
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 13:47:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
through what colored or uncolored lense Danny Okrent believes his own viewpoints are taken? Suppose we all have our own personally crafted spyglass through which we view the world and, in general, the fields of view are becoming narrower.

Subject: Re: I wonder......
From: Ryan
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 02:53:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Does everything think Krugman really cares what these people say about them. His academic work with stood blows from some of the most intelligent people in the world. He proved himself among some of the top thinkers in his subject and holds the John Bates Clark award for it. Every class dealing with international economics, reads his work. The point is, the man has proven himself right time and time again. He holds a full position at Princeton, and probably could care less about people like Luskin (college drop out) and Okrent.

Subject: Re: I wonder......
From: Setanta
To: Ryan
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 11:11:18 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'Every class dealing with international economics, reads his work. ' that should read 'Every class around the world dealing with international economics, reads his work.' i encountered him (rather, his work)and this wonderful website years ago while studying the dismal science in university in Dublin, Ireland.

Subject: Agree with you, Ryan
From: Pete Weis
To: Ryan
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 10:43:50 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:

Subject: Re: Agree with you, Ryan
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 11:48:52 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Same here, well said.

Subject: S.U.V.'s are Us?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, May 21, 2005 at 13:37:23 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/21/automobiles/21auto.html?ei=5094&en=736d597dff8a6c87&hp=&ex=1116734400&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print&position= A Love Affair With S.U.V.'s Begins to Cool By DANNY HAKIM DETROIT - To believe the commercials, sport utility vehicles can climb the most indomitable mountain, ford any stream and haul around the kids to boot. But gas prices are a more unconquerable force of nature. With higher prices at the pump sinking in as something more than a blip on the radar, and with several new passenger car models winning back customers, America's love affair with S.U.V.'s is taking a breather. For the first time in 14 years, the passenger car is actually taking sales back at the expense of S.U.V.'s and other trucks, according to an analysis of auto sales data. The renewed interest in cars over the first four months of the year, while modest, is a pause in what has been the trend in auto sales for the last decade and a half: the soaring growth of the sport utility vehicle as America's preferred family vehicle. Sales of medium and large sport utility vehicles - like the Ford Explorer and Chevrolet Suburban - have stalled, and the torrid sales growth of large pickups has cooled. While much of the slack is being taken up by smaller and less bulky S.U.V.'s known as crossovers, overall sales of S.U.V.'s are down 1.7 percent while passenger car sales are up 3.1 percent, according to Wards Automotive, which tracks auto sales. 'I just bought a Ford pickup truck and I wish I wouldn't have bought the darn thing,' said Mark House, 45, who was shopping Friday at a Toyota dealership in the Toledo, Ohio, area with his daughter, Monika, 19, who said she wanted a car so she could keep the cost of fill-ups down. 'If gas prices were cheaper, then I'd look into an S.U.V.,' she said. 'It's the gas.' Mr. House, who owns and manages rental properties, said of his truck, 'It's $60 to fill it up, and I don't even want to drive it anymore.' But John Wodarski, a manager at the dealership who has sold cars for 23 years, said talk about gas prices did not always translate into action. 'People rank it up there as one of their biggest concerns, just like losing weight,' he said, 'but no one ever does anything about it.' Weakness in big trucks is bad news for General Motors and Ford Motor, because they largely rely on big S.U.V.'s and pickup trucks for profits. Asian automakers like Toyota have had a stronger position in sales of cars and crossover vehicles. G.M. executives say large S.U.V. sales, which are down 15 percent this year industrywide, are weak not because of gas prices but because G.M.'s models are nearing the end of a product cycle. G.M. will introduce redesigned versions of large S.U.V.'s like the Chevy Suburban and Cadillac Escalade next year. Ford executives, by contrast, have cited gas prices as a major factor in their diminished earnings projections. Phil Martens, Ford's vice president for product creation, said recently that 'fuel economy has gone from not being in the top 10,' among buyer concerns, 'to being in the top 5.' Some analysts see a parade of newer car models as the predominant factor. 'Gas prices are having a much more minor effect than they did in the 80's,' said Tom Libby, the senior director of industry analysis at the Power information network, a unit of the research and consulting firm J. D. Power & Associates. In fact, gas prices, adjusted for inflation, are not nearly as high as they were in the early 1980's. Mr. Libby said a wave of new midsize luxury cars from brands like Acura, Lexus, BMW and Infiniti were increasing car sales. Hot sales of hybrid electric cars, like the Toyota Prius, have also helped, though Toyota's Lexus division and Ford are now also offering hybrid S.U.V.'s. Detroit's recent emphasis on making more credible passenger cars has been a major factor. Two notable cars with strong sales have been Ford's redesigned, Mustang and DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler 300 sedan. 'I never wanted a car before - never,' said Tamika Cooks, a science teacher at Bellaire High School in Houston, in an interview Friday as she was signing the paperwork for her Chrysler 300C. 'But this car has captured my attention. It speaks to me. It calls my name.' Burly and sleek, the 300C has won diverse appeal and convinced many that Detroit can make compelling cars if it is motivated; the rapper Snoop Dogg drives a black 300C. Ms. Cooks preferred satin jade. 'It's soft, it's feminine, it's classy,' she said. 'When you see it passing by, you have to stop and look.' For Ms. Cooks, gas prices, which are $2.09 a gallon for regular at a Shell station nearby, were not part of her decision, and she said she came close to buying a Lexus S.U.V. The 300C, equipped with a gas guzzling Hemi engine, is hardly akin to a Toyota Prius. 'Gas prices worry me with any vehicle,' she said. 'One day they're up, the next day they're slightly down.' Cars now account for 46.3 percent of the nation's vehicle market, up from 45.4 percent in the first four months of 2004, according to Ward's. Before this year, cars had been in decline every year since 1991, when they accounted for 67.4 percent of the market. In 1980, cars made up about four-fifths of sales. The growth of light trucks, a regulatory category that includes minivans, S.U.V.'s and pickup trucks, has had broad effects on the nation's oil consumption. The fuel economy of the average new vehicle sold fell to 20.7 miles a gallon in 2003 models from 22.1 miles a gallon in 1988 models. Regulations permit light trucks to consume significantly more gas than cars; the most recent Congressional effort to tighten the regulatory system was defeated in the Senate this week. Will the growth of cars be sustained? Not likely. Domestic automakers have laid out production plans focusing on more small S.U.V.'s, and Asian automakers are increasing their focus on the pickup truck market, with Toyota building a new pickup truck plant in San Antonio. 'By the end of the decade, sales will be anywhere from two-thirds to three-fourths light trucks,' said Haig Stoddard, the manager of industry analysis at Ward's. Gas could be an X-factor. When prices went up in March, Yves Nau, a nightclub owner in Houston, traded in his GMC Yukon Denali for a Chrysler 300C sedan. Between savings at the gas pump, lower car payments and insurance bills, he said he was saving $700 a month. 'I feel like I'm the smart guy,' he said. 'You save money like that and you can't ignore it.'

Subject: Re: S.U.V.'s are Us?
From: Setanta
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 12:45:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
i said it before and i'll say it again...american auto manufacturers need to retool their factories to comply with reality. gas will never become cheaper. we need either hybrid cars or low consumption/fuel efficient cars. s&p recognised this and degraded GM and Ford to junk bond status. the european and japanese cars will inherit the market. the world has lost its taste for huge gas guzzling behemoths in favor of the highly engineered/ high tech cars such as Volkswagen, Toyota etc. indeed, i'm the proud owner of the BMW 1 Series (2005). its a 1.6 litre engine but with the performance of a 2 litre. unless you are in the haulage business anything more than a 2 litre is a complete waste.

Subject: The idiot light business model
From: Pete Weis
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 14:08:54 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Sell that BMW before the warranty runs out or the car will own you!!! Those idiot lights will drive you nuts and only BMW can turn them off and they won't turn them off until you have emptied your wallet into their cash register. They make very little on car sales, but once you buy....

Subject: Re: The idiot light business model
From: Pancho Villa
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 22:37:31 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
...it's always X-mas time

Subject: Re: The idiot light business model
From: Pancho Villa
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Mon, May 23, 2005 at 22:45:28 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/techarticles/E36-Service_Lamp/E30-Service_Lamp.htm

Subject: US auto execs are......
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, May 21, 2005 at 15:29:14 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
out of touch with reality.

Subject: Re: US auto execs are......
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, May 21, 2005 at 16:25:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Where are they when it comes to imagination, to looking ahead?

Subject: The Trade Deficit and the Dollar
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, May 21, 2005 at 11:06:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Alan Greenspan in response to a question remarked that a change in the value of the Yuan would not appreciably change America's trade deficit; which is just what I would say. The trade deficit is not being forced on us because there is all sorts of saving needing to be poured in on America to induce us to buy abroad. How can we not have a trade deficit when there is minimal household saving and a fierce government deficit?

Subject: Re: The Trade Deficit and the Dollar
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sat, May 21, 2005 at 11:52:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I would have enjoyed listening to Greenspan speak to how interest rate changes that stem from currency movement might be handled.

Subject: Canada's Medical System
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, May 21, 2005 at 10:12:34 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/21/international/americas/21chaoulli.html?pagewanted=all A Doctor -Lawyer-Gadfly v. Canada's Medical System By CLIFFORD KRAUSS MONTREAL IT took only one semester for Dr. Jacques Chaoulli to flunk out of a Montreal law school a few years ago after he incessantly challenged professors in the classroom and in exams with his novel legal interpretations. But Dr. Chaoulli, a family physician, never lost his taste for legal argument, or his distaste for Canada's publicly financed health care system. He has taken what was once regarded as a nuisance case, challenging the constitutionality of the system all the way to the Supreme Court - serving as his own lawyer, rolling his cardboard boxes stuffed with files into the chamber and paying for his efforts with a half million dollars out of his own pocket and that of his tolerant Japanese father-in-law. It has been a year since the Canadian Supreme Court heard the case, a rare delay that is raising eyebrows in legal circles. Scholars studying Dr. Chaoulli's challenge say the court is either badly divided or waiting for the appropriate political moment to release a bombshell. They speculate that the justices may agree outright with Dr. Chaoulli (pronounced cha-OOH-li), or are working out instructions to the government to find a way to fix what many agree is an ailing health care network - where doctors are in short supply and patients wait months for diagnostic tests and elective surgeries like cornea transplants and knee replacements. 'If I win, everything will be turned upside down,' Dr. Chaoulli said with a smile, sipping a cup of tea in the living room of his modest stone house in Montreal. 'One constitutional expert told a friend of mine, 'Chaoulli, is he a crazy man or a genius? We will know after the judgment of the Supreme Court.' ' A diminutive man who has trouble keeping his wire-rim glasses on straight, Dr. Chaoulli, 53, hardly looks like the 'freedom fighter' that Canada's conservative news media have called him. But if he wins his case he will tear up the third rail of the nation's politics and raze what many Canadians consider to be the bedrock of their national identity. He argues that regulations that create long waiting times for surgery contradict the constitutional guarantees for individuals of 'life, liberty and the security of the person,' and that the prohibition against private medical insurance and care is for sick patients an 'infringement of the protection against cruel and unusual treatment.' He believes that Canada is disallowing the basic contract rights of doctors and patients, and that the country would serve the sick much better if it had a parallel private health care system, as in France and many other industrialized countries. 'His argument is credible,' said Patrick Monahan, dean of the Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in Toronto. 'The issue of waiting times does raise constitutional issues.' DR. CHAOULLI is a man of passions. He taught himself to paint well enough to make copies of masterworks of Fragonard, Botticelli and Renoir that decorate his house. He has written a couple of books on health care, but sales have been awful. He tried his hand at provincial politics, and put in that stint at the University of Montreal Law School, after he had decided to challenge the constitutionality of the health care system. He describes the legal case as an obsession for which he has sacrificed time with his wife and daughter to comb the stacks of law libraries in search of legal precedents. 'On a very small scale, I feel like Gandhi,' he said. 'You block me, I'll challenge you.' Born in France, Dr. Chaoulli ran away as a teenager from a troubled home in which, he says, his father was abusive to his mother. As a result, he said, 'I grew up with a strong sense of my individual freedom.' He washed dishes and cleaned toilets to support himself while he attended medical school in Paris on a scholarship and then made his way to Quebec when he found it hard to get a job in France. He began practicing medicine in Canada in 1986, serving in a remote rural hospital, clinic and nursing home for two years. When he arrived in Montreal a few years later, he saw a need for a doctor to make emergency house calls. 'Many patients remained at home, untreated,' he recalled. In 1991 he started an emergency house call service, eventually outfitting a white Chevy van as a makeshift ambulance with a red roof light, siren and portable X-ray machine and a police permit to operate the vehicle. His practice grew and he hired six other doctors to help him. But when he opted out of the public system and began charging his patients fees in 1996, the Quebec medical union and regional health board accused him of violating the provincial health act. The local government applied a 30 percent penalty on income from the service, and his six doctors quit. Soon afterward, he set up a tent in downtown Montreal and went on a hunger strike for a month to call attention to his belief that his and his patients' rights were being infringed upon. 'I was desperate, I was deeply humiliated, I didn't know how to fight back using peaceful, legal means,' he recalled, wincing. With penalties mounting, Dr. Chaoulli was forced to abandon his emergency house call business in 1997, and he said he was made to feel impotent as 'my patients begged me not to give up on them.' So he went to court, taking up the case of Georges Zeliotis, a chemical salesman with recurring hip problems who was forced to wait a year for a hip replacement while prohibited from paying privately for surgery. Mr. Zeliotis could have gone to the United States, but since he was also forbidden by Canadian law from purchasing private insurance he would have been forced to pay out of his pocket, which was beyond his financial means, Dr. Chaoulli said. Dr. Chaoulli and Mr. Zeliotis lost in two Quebec provincial courts, but the Supreme Court decided to hear their appeal. VARIOUS medical experts, government representatives and union leaders argued in court that privatization of insurance and services would bring an exodus of medical talent from public to private practices, and make waiting times even longer. Dr. Chaoulli made a philosophical pitch in his oral arguments, saying that Canadian prohibitions against allowing patients to privately contract for medical services were a basic violation of their rights. 'People are dying on waiting lists,' Dr. Chaoulli said in an interview, adding that his goal was to improve the public health care system, not to destroy it. Christopher P. Manfredi, chairman of the McGill University political science department, was in court, and said Dr. Chaoulli's style was a bit amateurish. 'He ran out of time and the justices scolded him,' he recalled. 'It wasn't a great litigation performance.' Still, several of the justices asked probing questions of the government's lawyers and seemed skeptical about their arguments against giving people a choice between private and public services. 'People once saw Chaoulli as a crackpot and discounted what he was trying to do,' said Antonia Maioni, an expert on health care at McGill. 'Well, now, from lone ranger he's become a cause célèbre.'

Subject: Zimbabwe
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, May 21, 2005 at 10:09:31 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/21/international/africa/21zimbabwe.html?pagewanted=all Zimbabwe, Long Destitute, Teeters Toward Ruin By MICHAEL WINES BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe - In the weeks before parliamentary elections in March, the leaders of this threadbare nation threw open the national larder, wooing voters with stocks of normally scarce gasoline and corn and a flood of freshly printed money. It may have helped: the ruling party, President Robert G. Mugabe's ZANU-PF, was installed for another five years. But Zimbabwe's Potemkin prosperity has evaporated since the elections, replaced by penury and mounting signs of economic collapse. Here in the second largest city, lines of cars stretch a quarter mile and more at fuel-parched service stations, and drivers spend the night in their cars' back seats lest they lose their place in line. Milk, cooking oil and, most of all, corn, the national staple, are a distant memory at most stores. At one downtown grocery, tubes of much-prized American toothpaste are kept in a locked case. Zimbabwe's currency, which traded on the black market at 120 to the dollar in April 2002, went for 6,200 to the dollar last December, 12,000 on April 1, and 17,000 in early May. By mid-May a single American dollar brought as much as 25,000 Zimbabwean dollars, though the rate has since steadied at about 20,000. [Zimbabwe's government steadfastly maintained an official exchange rate of about 6,100 Zimbabwean dollars per American dollar until Thursday, when the nation's reserve bank announced a devaluation. But business managers here say the new official rate - 9,000 per American dollar - is unlikely to have more than a brief impact on the economy.] 'It's running out of control,' one Bulawayo manufacturer said in an interview. 'When you're going down a path of destruction, you can keep putting patches on the tires - patch, patch, patch - but eventually the tire is going to burst.' Business executives interviewed for this article almost uniformly refused to be named, fearing that criticism of economic policies would doom their scant chances of receiving government assistance. One persistent critic, John Robertson, a former government economist, said the government appeared to have exhausted its reserves on the feel-good campaign before the parliamentary elections and was now paying the price. For years, of course, Zimbabwe's economy has been a chewing-gum and baling-wire affair, with 70 percent unemployment, triple-digit inflation and a currency no foreign creditor will accept. Prosperity has been receding since the late 1990's, when the government's attacks on international creditors and its seizure of commercial farms set off a cascade of economic backlashes. Past economic plunges have provoked food riots, gas-line protests and government crackdowns. This time the government has sent the police to quell mobs outside groceries and gas stations, and started rounding up street merchants who deal too openly in black-market goods and selling currency at illicit rates. Yet some say that the current crisis, perhaps the worst since the economy began foundering, may mark a turning point. Zimbabwe's main economic problems - capital flight, a dire shortage of foreign exchange with which to buy imports, and turbocharged inflation - are now so severe that they are eroding what remains of the industrial and agricultural base. Manufacturing has slowed to a trickle, hamstrung by shortages of fuel and imported components. Businesses have been driven to barter and the black market, adding to the inflation. Appeals for government help are mostly fruitless. The government is all but broke. 'The scarcities now are coming from manufacturers who can't deliver enough to retailers to fill their shelves,' Mr. Robertson said in an interview in Harare, the capital. Initially the problem was that manufacturers could not cobble together enough supplies to make their products. 'Now that there are more critical shortages in things like fuel,' he said, 'it's almost academic whether they can get the material, because they can't deliver the products anyway. The end result of the shortages is that prices are rising.' In Harare in the second week of May, rumors that a shipment of sugar had arrived created a line half a mile long outside one suburban supermarket. Yet the problem, Mr. Robertson said, was not so much a shortage of sugar as a shortage of the imported polyethylene bags that hold it. Coca-Cola is being rationed because the gas used for carbonation is in short supply and the local bottler cannot find foreign currency to buy the imported syrup. Virtually any product made of steel is hard to find, because most rolled steel is imported from South Africa, and South African steel mills are demanding cash up front from Zimbabwean customers. 'It's what I call a chain-link economy,' said one Bulawayo maker of a basic steel commodity. 'Company A manufactures parts for Company B, and Company B manufactures a part for Company C, and so on until company F makes the finished product. What's happening is that the links are falling apart.' That manufacturer offers a line of 25 products. Only four are being made, because he cannot find paint, abrasives and braces to make the others. 'They're all imported,' he said of the materials, 'and if there's no foreign currency, then my supplier can't buy them to sell to me.' Zimbabwe's immediate problem is that it has run out of foreign currency. But that is only one domino in a long chain that threatens to bury the economy. Agricultural exports were an economic mainstay. But in the last five years, Zimbabwe's parceling out of 5,000 commercial farms among squatters and peasants has caused the collapse of commercial farming. That has destroyed the businesses that supported it, from tractor sales - the nation needs 50,000, and has fewer than 400 working ones - to irrigation suppliers. That only deepened the export tailspin: Zimbabwean tobacco production is down two-thirds in five years, for instance, and the quality, once world renowned, is so poor that buyers are scarce. Falling exports made foreign currency more expensive, causing exchange rates to rocket. But the government has generally chosen to print more money instead of readjusting the value of its currency; Zimbabwe's money supply rose 226 percent in 2004. The result has been hyperinflation and a thriving black market in money and goods. Hyperinflation and the artificial exchange rate, in turn, have crippled gold mining, Zimbabwe's other big export industry. Production fell 18 percent in the first quarter of 2005. [The government's latest devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar sets special, higher exchange rates for exports of gold and cotton, two major industries facing collapse in the current crisis. The loss of either would crimp foreign-currency receipts even more; a collapse in cotton would pull Zimbabwe's textile industry down as well. [The higher exchange rates effectively are subsidies, costing the government the equivalent of scores of millions of American dollars. Asked how the government would get the money to subsidize the two industries, the economist, Mr. Robertson, said, 'My feeling is that they'll print it.' [The government said Friday that it would also budget more money to import grain, hoping to avert what some experts say is a looming famine when the harvest that ends in May - by all accounts a dismal failure - has been consumed. [Zimbabwe needs about 1.6 million tons of grain a year, and officials say they intend to purchase 1.2 million tons. But corn imports from South Africa, Zimbabwe's only supplier of note, totaled a bare 37,500 tons in the last month, far short of demand. It is unclear where the government will find the foreign currency it needs to buy grain abroad.] Starved for foreign currency to import crucial supplies, the government now requires all businesses to trade 25 percent of their foreign income at the official exchange rate. That hits businesses with a double whammy: they have less foreign money to buy imported raw materials, and they must raise prices to make up their currency losses. If that seems a formula for more shortages and more inflation, few business managers here would disagree. Tony Rowland, the chief executive of Bulawayo-based Zimplow, employs 400 people to make animaldrawn plows from steel rolled at one of Zimbabwe's few domestic mills. To hedge against the constantly rising price of domestic steel, he reinvests his profits in something that rises with inflation: nuts and bolts. 'I've become a steel dealer,' he said. 'I've had to expand my business to things beyond my core business to keep going.' Were he forced to buy and sell at the official exchange rate, he said, 'I'd be dead in the water.' Mr. Rowland and others say that even partial devaluations of the currency by the government will not revive the economy or save businesses and that an economic overhaul that reflected reality would impose unacceptable suffering on ordinary citizens who already undergo too many hardships. 'Something's got to give,' said another Bulawayo manufacturer, a major exporter. 'The problem is that the decisions to be made are so radical, and would affect the average man so badly, that they'll never be made. Not under the current environment, anyway.' So Zimbabweans muddle through. In Harare, the chief of a major consumer products company said recently that he had junked his accounting software until programmers could adapt a Turkish version to his requirements. The problem: the Zimbabwe spreadsheets cannot accommodate the flood of zeros required for transactions that now run into the billions - even the trillions - of Zimbabwean dollars. 'We've run out of noughts,' he said.

Subject: 'Against Depression'
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, May 21, 2005 at 10:08:31 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/22/books/review/22ANGIERL.html?pagewanted=all 'Against Depression': Anatomy of Severe Melancholy By NATALIE ANGIER PETER D. KRAMER, author of the phenomenally successful ''Listening to Prozac,'' may be thought of as America's Dr. Depression, and he may have done more than anybody else to illuminate the clawing, scabrous, catastrophic monotony that is depressive illness. But he has never suffered from the mental disorder himself. Not that he's a chipper bon vivant. ''I am easily upset,'' he writes in ''Against Depression.'' ''I brood over failures. I require solitude. . . . In medieval or Renaissance terms, I am melancholic as regards my preponderant humor.'' Still, he has never qualified for a diagnosis of even low-level depression. My first reaction to that biographical detail was to question Kramer's authority on the subject. How can you really understand what pain is, I wondered, if you've never felt the Cuisinart inside? I quickly dropped my objections, however, when I realized I was doing for depression precisely what Kramer warns against in this eloquent, absorbing and largely persuasive book. I was lifting it to the status of the metaphysical, or at least the meta-medical. I was granting to its specific pain the presumed reimbursement of revelation, the power to ennoble, instruct and certify the sufferer. By contrast, I'd never insist that my endocrinologist suffer my autoimmune disorder before treating me or talking publicly about autoimmunity; or that my endodontist, before extracting my infected dental pulp, first be ''enlightened'' with a few root canals of his own. That Kramer has not been depressed may in fact allow him to resist doing what depressives, and those who love them, too readily do, which is romanticize and totemize and finally trivialize the illness. Instead, Kramer, who is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Brown University, sees depression for what it is. ''It is fragility, brittleness, lack of resilience, a failure to heal,'' he writes. It is sadness, hopelessness, chronic exhaustion allied with corrosive anxiety, a loss of any emotion but guilt, of any desire but to stop, please stop, and to stay stopped, forever. ''Depression is a disease of extraordinary magnitude,'' he says, and ''the major scourge of humankind.'' Found by the World Health Organization to be the single most disabling disease, depression afflicts people of every age, class, race, creed and calling: as many as 25 percent of us will be caught in its vise at least once in our lives. The disease blights careers, shatters families and costs billions of dollars in lost workdays a year. Kramer cites studies putting the annual workplace cost in this country alone at $40 billion -- the equivalent of 3 percent of the gross national product. Depression also kills, through suicide, heart disease, pneumonia, accidents. Forget the persistent myth of depression as a source of artistry, soulfulness and rebellion. Depression doesn't fan creative flames. It is photophobic and anhedonic and would rather just drool in the dark. Kramer wrote ''Against Depression'' to dispel what he sees as the lingering charisma of the disease. And yes, people talk about it now as a biological disease rather than a moral or spiritual failing. The stigma of mental illness has mainly faded, and antidepressants are among the most widely prescribed of all medications. Nevertheless, in the dozen years since the publication of ''Listening to Prozac,'' Kramer has seen plenty of resistance to the idea that depression, like cancer, AIDS or malaria, is a disease without redeeming value, best annihilated entirely. He has read stacks of depression memoirs, and though most have parroted the party line that depression is a disease like any other, ''hints of pride almost invariably showed through, as if affliction with depression might after all be more enriching than, say . . . kidney failure.'' The writers couldn't help conveying the message: ''Depression gave me my soul.'' Moreover, whenever Kramer gives a talk, sooner or later an audience member invariably asks The Question. So, Dr. Kramer, what would have happened if van Gogh had taken Prozac? Or Kierkegaard? Or Virginia Woolf? The implication of the question is obvious. Throw out the depression bath water and, whoops, there go ''Starry Night'' and ''Mrs. Dalloway'' with it. Kramer presents a sustained case that depression, far from enhancing cognitive or emotional powers, essentially pokes holes in the brain, killing neurons and causing key regions of the prefrontal cortex -- the advanced part of the brain, located just behind the forehead -- to shrink measurably in size. He lucidly explains a wealth of recent research on the disease, citing work in genetics, biochemistry, brain imaging, the biology of stress, studies of identical twins. He compares the brain damage from depression with that caused by strokes. As a result of diminished blood flow to the brain, he says, many elderly stroke patients suffer crippling depressions. Is stroke-induced depression a form of ''heroic melancholy''? If not, then why pin merit badges on any expression of the disease? Rallying his extensive familiarity with art and literature, Kramer argues that history's depressive luminaries were creative not because of but despite their struggles with mental illness -- as a result of their underlying resilience, a quality he admires. Kramer envisions a utopian future in which neuro-resilience and neuro-regeneration may be easily induced with drugs or gene therapy. How much more intellectually and emotionally courageous might we be, he asks, how much more readily might we venture out on limbs and high wires, if we knew a private trampoline would always break our fall? KRAMER'S narrative is not seamless. He argues that depression has long been very much among us, and he rightly discounts pat evolutionary hypotheses about the disease's ''adaptive value,'' but he doesn't offer much of an explanation himself for how a condition so devastating has come to be so common. Kramer can also sound defensive and willfully dour. To counter possible charges of superficiality or a fondness for smiley-face fixes, he presents his ''bona fides as a person who can appreciate alienation, both the social and existential varieties,'' among them being a New York-born German Jew who lost many relatives in the Holocaust. He rejects our habitual conflation of tragedy with depth and joy with shallowness, yet when A. L. Kennedy, author of the memoir ''On Bullfighting,'' struggles to find some lightness by recalling how her suicidal fantasies clashed with her fear of public embarrassment, Kramer dismisses her attempts as an author's version of ''meeting cute.'' Ah, but self-mockery can be a small source of joy, even redemption, which is why, whenever I lapse into hand-wringing, I recall Ezra Pound's ode to misery, a parody of A. E. Housman: ''O woe, woe, / People are born and die, / We also shall be dead pretty soon / Therefore let us act as if we were dead already.'' Now that's what I call cute.

Subject: Starbucks Aims to Alter China
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, May 21, 2005 at 09:36:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/21/business/worldbusiness/21coffee.html Starbucks Aims to Alter China's Taste in Caffeine By KEITH BRADSHER HONG KONG - The Starbucks Corporation plans to announce soon an accelerated push into the Chinese market, company executives said on Friday, the latest in a series of aggressive efforts by international food and beverage companies to expand in China. What is striking about these efforts, by McDonald's and KFC as well as Starbucks, is that they have made few concessions to Chinese tastes, instead cultivating in China an appetite for Western favorites, like Big Macs and grande lattes. Like many other companies, most notably General Motors, chains like Starbucks have also struggled in China against the copying of their stores and logos. Martin P. Coles, president of Starbucks Coffee International, and Christine M. Day, president of the Starbucks Asia and Pacific group, called a news conference here on Friday, but then said they were not yet ready to announce details of their plans for China. 'When you work with partners, it always takes more time than you think it will,' said Ms. Day, adding that she expected an announcement in 'a couple of weeks.' Starbucks already has 120 stores in mainland China, a market it entered in 1999, and 194 in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Starbucks has 9,000 stores around the world, 2,600 of them outside the United States. But the focus of growth is clearly outside the United States, with China a special priority, Mr. Coles said. The company's long-term goal - he declined to set a timeline - is to have 30,000 stores, with half of them outside the United States and a very large proportion in China. 'Longer term, it has the potential to be second to the U.S.A. in the number of stores,' Mr. Coles said. The expansion of a coffee shop chain is striking in China, a land of tea drinkers like Japan, where Starbucks is becoming ubiquitous in parts of Tokyo. Starbucks typically offers only three or four kinds of tea in its shops in China, in addition to the usual coffees of all flavors. Starbucks is considering whether to offer more kinds of tea, but it is mostly trying to cultivate a love of coffee in China. The company's market research has found that customers in China tend to come in initially just to find a place to meet, and then begin buying coffee as they become repeat customers. Starbucks entered the Hong Kong market, another place where many drink tea, and now has 51 stores here. Joey Chan, a 35-year-old clerk visiting a Starbucks in Hong Kong at lunchtime on Friday, said that the stores had already become part of the local culture and did not seem like an American import. 'Hong Kong people love chatting, and you can stay here as long as you like without worrying that you will be asked to leave by the waiters,' he said. Ms. Day said that Starbucks had brought a couple of Asian beverages to its American stores, notably green tea frappuccino, and was considering 'four or five' more Asian drinks for Starbucks menus around the world. While Starbucks is growing quickly in China, it has run into some of the same intellectual property disputes that have bedeviled many companies. A single coffee shop in Shanghai registered the Pinyin spelling of the company's name, 'xing ba ke,' before Starbucks got around to doing so, and is now using the name. Ms. Day said that the company had sued and expected a court verdict soon, adding that the shop had already taken down a sign that resembled the Starbucks logo.

Subject: Rising Interest Rates or Falling?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 22:46:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Paul Krugman finds the danger a decrease in cheap lending to America from China, and so an increase in interest rates and an end to the housing bubble. Can the Federal Reserve deal with this? Does the Fed simply lower short term rates?

Subject: Re: Rising Interest Rates or Falling?
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, May 21, 2005 at 01:53:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is a disconnect between the fed short term rate and long term rates. This is a problem since a number of events which could influence long term rates to rise could not be counteracted by the Fed without the danger of a collapse in the dollar - this is the financial crisis to which Paul Volker refers.

Subject: Re: Rising Interest Rates or Falling?
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, May 21, 2005 at 06:51:50 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Putting together Paul Krugman's conditions, there will be a time when China allows its currency to appreciate in value against the dollar. Likely this will involve an appreciation in other Asian currencies, though the Yen may changelittle in value. As the Yuan appreciates China will have to buy fewer American securities, and there will be a tendency for our interest rates to increase. Here is the point of complexity. If interest rates increase there may be a decline in housing demand and prices and mortgage refinancing, and from this decline in housing demand a decline in general business activity. Now, from what Alan Greenspan has written, the Fed will intervene and begin to lower short term interest rates. Greenspan has written that the value of the dollar will not be the concern, rather the concern will be the strength of the economy. We could then look for a general decline of the dollar, but there is reason to believe the Fed could in time limit long term interest rate increases. Still, what is not clear is whether changing Fed policy would take effect quickly enough to avoid a recession.

Subject: Re: Rising Interest Rates or Falling?
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, May 21, 2005 at 12:18:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'Greenspan has written that the value of the dollar will not be the concern, rather the concern will be the strength of the economy.' Emma. Aren't the two intertwined? In other words, if we get a sharply declining dollar without sharply rising wages to offset it, consumption would fall as paychecks buy less. This could lead to rising unemployment. Employment is also a factor (besides interest rates) when it comes to housing valuations. Since much of the better employment we have is due to the housing boom - remember the San Diego Tribune article which attributes 50% of job creation directly to housing in California - a further drop in housing brought on by unemployment elsewhere in the economy will foster even more unemployment. This once again feeds on itself. The way to stem a sharp fall in the dollar is to raise interest rates sharply, but of course this hits housing and reduces general consumption leading to higher unemployment, etc, etc. So there is something fundamentally wrong in our economy (seriously wrong) which the fed alone can not fix. It might have been able to do something about it years ago when they could have put the brakes on in the middle 90's, but now we're in the proverbial 'between a rock and a hard place'. So, IMO, now it's about limiting the damage and requires the cooperation of all our trading partners, an aggressive government directed energy policy (to reduce oil/natural gas imports), and revised US fiscal policies (as you and Terri point out). With regard to working with our trading partners, we need to utilize our 'best' economists and their 'best' economists to figure out a way to convert this house of cards into something which survives and won't collapse, but in which framework all will have to give up something for the greater good.

Subject: Re: Rising Interest Rates or Falling?
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, May 21, 2005 at 16:56:23 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I understand what you are thinking, and I tend to agree when you argue in this line. I will think a while.

Subject: Housing and Currency
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 22:09:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Paul Krugman has set us 2 problems, the problem of a housing bubble and the problem of what must be an eventual increase in the value of the Yuan against the dollar which will limit the cheap credit we are getting from China. There is cause to worry.

Subject: Housing or Real Estate
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 22:11:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice that Krugman uses the expression housing bubble rather than real estate bubble. Krugman may be thinking there is less problem in commercial real estate. I wonder.

Subject: Alan Greenspan's Argument
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 18:31:52 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The argument Alan Greenspan has referred to is that part of the increasing flexibility of the American economy involves households being capable of handling relatively more debt now simply because the assets underlying the debt are more ample. Greenspan seems to be arguing that households are increasingly capable of handling debt as corporations handle debt. This is the basis for Greenspan's remark on the long term advantage of variable rate mortgages. I have been thinking about the remark and argument.

Subject: Re: Alan Greenspan's Argument
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, May 21, 2005 at 02:22:31 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Isn't this like saying in the late 90's that highly indebted consumers could handle their high levels of debt because the valuations of their 'underlying' hightech portfolios represented more 'ample assets'? Furthermore, at the time Greenspan was pushing ARM's he was fully aware that he was getting ready to gradually raise the fed rate and despite the fact that long term rates are yet to rise, Greenspan has recently expressed some surprise that the fed tightening has not thus far pushed long term rates upward also. So it is clear to me that when he was suggesting that ARM's where a good thing for homeowners, he believed mortgage rates were headed higher. At the time, Paul Krugman pointed out that the good old 30 year fixed was obviously the best choice when we were near the bottom of an interest rate cycle. Greenspan supported the Bush tax cuts and now says our government must do something about it's growing budget deficit. He advised the Reagan administration to institute big increases in payroll taxes to secure social security for future generations and now suggests large cuts in social security for future generations. I'm sorry, but we need to face the fact that we do not have an honest man in the fed chair. IMO, our present chairman may be the Maestro (of BS) but he is not an individual possessing integrity.

Subject: Re: Alan Greenspan's Argument
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, May 21, 2005 at 17:59:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Friends whose judgement I trust are on both sides of the argument.

Subject: Fantastic article at Slate
From: Auros
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 18:00:10 (EDT)
Email Address: rmharman@auros.org

Message:
The Cram-Down Decade. Very much worth reading; it explores the common thread between Congress and corporate boardrooms -- intentionally mismanaging retirement funds so that the capitalist class can throw up its hands and tell retirees, 'Sorry, there's no money for your pension and healthcare.' The Cram-Down Decade slate.msn.com/id/2119327/

Subject: Re: Fantastic article at Slate
From: Terri
To: Auros
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 20:38:31 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What is not clear is how selected pension funds could be poorly managed through these last 25 years when we have experienced astonishing bull markets in stocks, bonds, and real estate. We need more study of individual pension funds in this regard. Thank you for the article notice.

Subject: It is clear-
From: David E..
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 22:11:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Pension plans have to be funded-we have gone through several cycles of the government lowering the funding requirements to satisfy corporate requests.

Subject: Household Debt and Government Debt
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 13:45:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Alan Greenspan has argued that household debt is not worrying, for houseolds are increasingly better able to handle debt. The problem is federal debt. How are we to deal with the structural budget deficit? Presently, we are dealing with the deficit by insuring that it will increase faster than we can grow. There is the problem. I do not need to be forced to save, though I wish there were more household saving for I worry about our economic health.

Subject: Re: Household Debt and Government Debt
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 16:16:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'Alan Greenspan has argued that household debt is not worrying, for houseolds are increasingly better able to handle debt.' With poor aggregate wage performance in this economy and interest rates no longer going down, how are 'households increasingly better able to handle debt'? Oh, wait a minute, I know, I know - interest only mortgages. I almost forgot about those little gems. Boy, Alan just seems like he's right on top of things!

Subject: Should
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 13:46:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The problem with household saving comes to how secure should we really feel? The initial answer to my question is if there is indeed a real estate bubble, as Paul Krugman now insists, then there should be more household saving since real estate is increasingly used as our 'bank.'

Subject: Is Real Estate Too Expensive?
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 12:56:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Let me be more precise in questioning. What are the criteria to look for in buying income property? How are we to understand when property has become too pricey? That is the issue in buying property for a REIT or buying a REIT itself. The answer to the question determines whether there is a bubble in real estate.

Subject: Re: Is Real Estate Too Expensive?
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 14:26:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Terri. There are books written about how to invest in real estate. There are many considerations involving cash flow: the depreciation life of a particular property, tax benefits of whether you as the owner also live on the property, maintenance costs (is the owner Mr./Mrs. Fix-it or will you need to hire others to maintain), rental history, quality of renters who will likely rent property (job stability, drug problems, etc) - very important since it can be very difficult and expensive to evict, property management costs, periods of time when property is vacant between renters and cost of advertising for new renters. What about utility costs - are they headed higher? Are they included in the rent? Is the renter paying for them? If they are headed higher and subtract from the renters income will this mean less money available for rent or rental increases needed by the landlord to offset higher taxes, maintenance costs, etc? There are the costs of buying and selling (often 8-10% to sell). If you are buying into a high priced market you better be concerned with cash flow - meaning enough rent to offset expenses because you face the possiblilty of declining valuation and you may need to ride it out. Real estate investment is a HIGHLY LEVERAGED investment and so comes with a HIGH LEVEL of risk!!!! When the economy is strong (good for rental income and valuation) and interest rates are starting downward from high levels (good for capital gain), it's possible to do much better than investing in the stock market since you are controlling thru leverage investments valued as much as 10x the amount of actual capital invested. So any gains on capital invested get multiplied 10 fold. Some savy real estate investors are able to find properties which they can get lenders to have appraised at values higher than the purchase price and thus get built-in equity which allows them to invest less capital to purchase the property to begin with. Lately, getting high appraisals for this purpose may be happening like never before. But if the economy is weakening and rates are headed higher then the risk increases dramatically, especially if it follows a big run-up in valuations. Because of the leveraging, a real estate decline has a massive impact on the economy if overall equity is low and the decline severe. Just as the real estate boom feeds on itself so does the decline. As soon as the real estate boom begins to peak and gradually speculators begin losing faith in future short term gains, they will begin to put properties up for sale. This will further increase speculators worries bring even more properties up for sale. At the same time buyers, who had previously been stoked by rising valuations will begin to dwindle. So as Buffet likes to put it - 'there won't be enough room for every one to fit through the exit'. As many investors will find themselves 'upsidedown', mortgage defaults will rise dramatically causing credit standards to tighten. Bond holders in mortgage securities will find themselves getting pounded and will begin to exit, reducing the supply of mortgage money. Rates will have to rise to attract investors to accept the higher risks. This will cause a further decline in real estate and more defaults - hence higher risk and even higher rates, and so on. A very nasty circle of decline. The losses will begin for speculators but will eventually filter down to home owners since it will cause higher mortgage rates and tighter credit requirements. The real estate decline will start a job market decline since so much of the job market is directly or indirectly related to the real estate boom. All of this will bring a great deal of systemic stress to our largest and smallest financial institutions. It will take alot of fancy footwork by the fed and our government to reduce the damage.

Subject: Re: Is Real Estate Too Expensive?
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 18:22:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Pete, thank you so much for the extensive responses. I understand your argument completely. There will be a break in the real estate market, but the adjustment from there is far from clear. While there will likely be a tightening of credit standards, there may well be a decline in long term interest rates as the economy weakens. This appears to be what happened in Japan. I like your analysis a lot.

Subject: Japan vs US
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sat, May 21, 2005 at 01:42:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Remember Japan does not have a current account deficit, but rather a current account surplus. So the pressure on the dollar to sink is much greater than for the Yen. The current account deficit in the US is the primary driver for personal debt since we Americans spend considerably more than we produce hence we must borrow to maintain our 'standard of living'. This makes us much more prone to personal bankruptcies and mortgage defaults. Therefore investors in mortgage securities in the US are at greater risk of suffering loses in the event of a severe housing bust where mortgage defaults would be more numerous than they have been in the long drawn out housing bust in Japan. Personal debt in the US after more than two decades of current account deficits is now at exceptionally high levels. At some point interest rates must reflect the risks. This is why GM and Ford now must pay higher rates to borrow since they represent higher risks for bond investors. The same will be true for the US consumer and US home owners.

Subject: Re: Japan vs US
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, May 21, 2005 at 17:58:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'Personal debt in the US after more than two decades of current account deficits is now at exceptionally high levels. At some point interest rates must reflect the risks. This is why GM and Ford now must pay higher rates to borrow since they represent higher risks for bond investors. The same will be true for the US consumer and US home owners.' This is a good argument, but I must ask after it for I understand if the analogy holds. For some people the relation will hold, but more broadly than some I am not at all sure. Paul Krugman may be telling us just this, but again I am not sure. I will ask.

Subject: Re: Japan vs US
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 12:52:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
All investments involve risks - even US treasuries as we are discovering and central bankers around the world are considering. The question for any investor - is the anticipated rate of real return worth the risk?

Subject: Re: Japan vs US
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sun, May 22, 2005 at 19:49:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Ha; is this ever so. You always go to the heart of the matter, and this is why I debate myself and you :)

Subject: At Sunbeam, Big Guys Won, Public Lost
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 12:51:23 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/20/business/20norris.html At Sunbeam, Big Guys Won, Public Lost By FLOYD NORRIS SEVEN years ago, two financiers who were among the most respected and feared in America sat down to make a deal that turned out to be disastrous for almost everyone involved. Everyone, that is, except for the men most directly involved. Long after the public investors toted up their losses, Ronald O. Perelman and Albert J. Dunlap are doing fine. The biggest loser appears to be an investment bank that lost a lot of money financing the deal and now must pay much more to Mr. Perelman. In early 1998, Mr. Dunlap was among the most revered and most reviled chief executives in the country. Credited with having turned around Scott Paper in 1994 and 1995, he then appeared to have done the same thing for Sunbeam, a maker of small home appliances. Its profits had soared and so had its shares. He relished the nickname Chainsaw Al, bestowed for his willingness to fire people. His memoirs had been a best seller in hardcover and were selling well in the paperback edition. Mr. Perelman was also widely respected. To be sure, his Marvel Entertainment had gone bankrupt, leaving public investors with big losses. But shares in Revlon, the cosmetics company he controlled, were trading for twice the price at which they had gone public two years earlier. But behind the scenes, neither man's empire was as solid as it seemed. Revlon's shares were destined to plunge later that year as sales suffered, and since then Mr. Perelman has been forced to put more money into the company, whose stock price is less than a tenth of what it was in early 1998. But Revlon's problems were small compared with Sunbeam's. That company's turnaround was soon to be exposed as being based on false accounting. Sunbeam went bankrupt, with shareholders losing everything. Mr. Perelman was one of those shareholders, because he had sold Coleman, the camping equipment company, to Sunbeam for cash and stock. He may have gotten a higher price for Coleman than its operations warranted, as Sunbeam later claimed, but he did not sell his Sunbeam stock to realize that gain. AFTER Sunbeam unraveled, Mr. Perelman decided to sue. But, for reasons his aides will not discuss now, he did not sue Mr. Dunlap. Instead, he sued Morgan Stanley, which had advised Sunbeam and underwrote the junk bonds and bank loans that financed the Coleman acquisition. Morgan Stanley had intended to syndicate the bank loan to other institutions, but it was not able to do so, and says it lost $300 million on the deal. The judge in Florida hearing Mr. Perelman's suit decided that Morgan Stanley had failed to produce evidence and thus had acted so badly that the jury should assume it was in on the fraud. This week the jury awarded $1.45 billion to Mr. Perelman, most of it in punitive damages. The former public owners of Coleman stock were not in the lawsuit, and will get nothing from it. If this verdict stands, Mr. Perelman will have a large profit, but public investors who followed his lead will have lost nearly everything they invested. Another winner is Mr. Dunlap, whose lawyer did not return telephone calls. He has always denied doing anything wrong, but paid $18.5 million to settle various lawsuits. He appears to have many millions left and he faces no criminal charges. When Sunbeam collapsed, federal prosecutors were not as interested in accounting fraud as they later became, and it was not until 2002 that the Justice Department began an investigation. No indictments followed. By then it had come out that Mr. Dunlap had lied on his résumé, concealing a job in the 1970's. That employer claimed in federal court that Mr. Dunlap had directed an accounting fraud similar to what later happened at Sunbeam, but the employer went bankrupt and the suit was settled without anything being proven. Mr. Perelman and Mr. Dunlap have reason to smile now. Small investors who believed in them do not.

Subject: Morgan Stanley's Comeuppance
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 10:56:38 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/20/opinion/20fri4.html Morgan Stanley's Comeuppance The investment bank Morgan Stanley has long been famous for stonewalling in the face of requests to produce documents, but when it tried these tactics in its bruising legal battle with Ronald Perelman, the billionaire financier, it won only grief. The bank has been ordered to pay $1.45 billion in actual and punitive damages to Mr. Perelman, thanks mostly to its persistent and misguided resistance. Mr. Perelman had sued Morgan Stanley, accusing it of helping to falsely inflate the deteriorating finances of the Sunbeam Corporation to induce him to accept that company's stock as partial payment in a buyout transaction. Although the average onlooker may find it hard to believe that Mr. Perelman was all that easy to dupe, he did not even have to prove his case. In midstream, the judge, angry that Morgan Stanley had repeatedly evaded orders to turn over e-mail messages, ruled that under Florida law, the jurors could take it for granted that the bank and Sunbeam had conspired to commit fraud. The burden of proof shifted to Morgan Stanley to prove otherwise, a hurdle it could not overcome. The bank will appeal the verdict, and many analysts expect the two sides to settle. The debacle is already roiling the legal ranks at Morgan Stanley, which brought in a new lawyer to rule over the chief counsel deemed responsible for the intransigent tactics and fired its chief outside law firm - all because someone didn't think it necessary to satisfy disclosure orders from the court.

Subject: Saving Energy, Without a Suit
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 10:49:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/20/business/worldbusiness/20tieless.html?pagewanted=all Is a Salaryman Without a Suit Like Sushi Without the Rice? By JAMES BROOKE TOKYO - The fashion models who prowl the catwalks of Japan tend to be long-legged and slinky. But the latest style setter here has a leonine glare and the kind of commanding bark that makes junior executives sit up and take notice. Hiroshi Okuda, chairman of Toyota Motor, Japan's largest company, is about to make his runway debut, promenading before the cameras for a new national campaign to cajole Japanese men to help the nation save energy by shedding their jackets and ties in summer. This blatant appeal to hierarchy comes as Japan - the world's second-largest oil importer, after the United States - charts a sartorial revolution intended to cut summer air-conditioning bills. The dark business suit, the beloved uniform for generations of salarymen, is supposed to stay at home this summer. All public and private offices - in a bid to save energy and reduce output of global warming gases - are to set their air-conditioners at 28 degrees centigrade, or a sweltering 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit. 'Japanese often feel they cannot do this or that if their bosses are not doing it,' said Yoshihisa Fujita, the environment ministry official in charge of the campaign. 'We targeted top executives of major corporations to lead the movement because smaller company employees would feel, 'We cannot remove neckties when our customer, company people, wear them.' ' Until now, office air-conditioning settings have varied, with some women complaining of glacial temperatures that allow their male colleagues' suits to look crisp. Next Tuesday, a rules committee of the lower house of Parliament is expected to vote to allow members to doff their coats in offices and committee rooms, a throwback to the 1950's, before air-conditioning. With air-conditioners blasting less hot air into streets, the nation's dominant city also hopes to attack its summer 'heat island' syndrome. With few parks, vast swathes of cement and new high-rises blocking sea breezes, Tokyo's number of 'tropical nights' - when thermometers never drop below 77 degrees Fahrenheit - jumped to 41 last year from fewer than 5 a century ago. 'This summer I will not allow anybody with tie or jacket into my office,' the environment minister, Yuriko Koike, told ministry employees on April 1, well in advance of the June 1 unofficial start of the air-conditioning season. In a press conference, she said that Cool Biz, a vaguely American fashion label pronounced 'kuuru bizu,' had been chosen among 3,200 suggestions submitted for Japan's new casual summer look. Some Japanese men sniff a plot by the nation's apparel industry to copy the boom enjoyed by American men's clothing stores a decade ago, when Casual Fridays forced office workers to augment their wardrobes with pressed khakis and nice sports shirts. 'We welcome the Cool Biz move; it is a favorable wind for us,' Masaaki Kato, spokesman for Renown D'urban Holdings, one of Japan's largest apparel companies, said in an interview. 'The fence between business and casual has been crumbling recently. There is a decline in the traditional view that the man who is wearing a suit is a businessman and the man who's not is unemployed.' The catchy Cool Biz name is essential because many Japanese cringe at memories of a fashion crime committed by a prime minister after the 1970's oil shock. Called the 'energy saving' look, this short-lived suit featured jacket sleeves cut off above the elbows. This hybrid salaryman safari suit bombed. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi unveiled the casual summer look in April, pitching it as part of Japan's effort to meet its 2012 goal of cutting its emissions of greenhouse gases by 6 percent from 1990's levels. 'The government will take the lead in prevention of global warming,' he said. 'From this summer, government is planning to start no necktie, no jacket.' Japan is the birthplace of the Kyoto Protocol, which only adds to the popularity of the global warming pact here. In an Asahi newspaper telephone poll last November, 79 percent of respondents said they believed that global warming was their 'own problem.' Last month, Mr. Koizumi's entire cabinet approved casual business dress guidelines, a first for Japan. The policy calls on government officials 'during June through the end of September, to work with light clothes with moderation that would not deviate from social norm, except for unavoidable situations brought about by diplomatic protocol, etc.' Bureaucrats mortified by informality can wear pins blaming their casual look on the national drive to meet Kyoto targets: '28 degrees/we are in the summer casual dress campaign to achieve minus 6 percent.' But salarymen are not expected to surrender their dark suits without a fight. On a recent afternoon in Otemachi, Tokyo's financial district, men on their lunch breaks predicted little loosening of one of the world's most conservative dress codes. 'The main obstacle is outside the company,' said Seiichiro Yabui, a 36-year-old salesman. 'How you appear when you meet clients, especially old clients.' Noriyuki Ushiyama, 51, agreed. 'In Japan, the relationship toward the customers is a very delicate one,' he said. 'For a dress code change to become real, you have to start right there.' Members of the Diet have worried that going tieless would erode 'the authority of the Diet.' Others have worried about live TV broadcasts. Several younger men have shown near panic at the idea of having to improvise a wardrobe beyond a white shirt, dark tie and black suit. 'There is something very convenient about wearing suits,' said Naoto Oshima, 33, a systems engineer. 'It is very easy to get dressed in the morning. I don't have to worry about what to wear to work at all.' Tomonari Kori, 25, stated flatly: 'I wouldn't know what to wear if we had to dress down.' Shinro Hayashi, editor of Men's Club, Japan's oldest men's fashion magazine, traced the salaryman's comfort in the anonymity of a dark suit to a group ethic that dates back to feudal days. 'Japanese wear suits so much because of their sense of belonging to a house, sense of belonging to a clan,' he said. 'By wearing uniformed suits, you can hide in the uniform and not reveal your individuality.' Beyond that, the suit means business. 'The suit represents, in a world language, that the guy you are talking to understands the sense of contract, the rules of business,' said Mr. Hayashi, who was wearing blue jeans and a white cotton shirt with French cuffs. 'Twenty years ago representatives of the Chinese Communist Party never wore suits. Look at them now.' To wean more Japanese men from their suits, the government has asked a famous cartoonist, Kenshi Hirokane, to start dressing his main character, a salaryman, in Cool Biz. But bracing for diehard sartorial resistance, the government also is preparing to play fashion hardball. Mr. Okuda of Toyota not only leads Japan's largest company, he is also chairman of the nation's most powerful business group, Keidanren, or the Japan Business Federation. That first Sunday in June, when he walks, or marches, down the catwalk, trailed by 12 lesser executives, it will be national news. 'Mr. Okuda is the top businessman in Japan,' Mr. Hayashi said. 'If he is really serious about the no-tie movement, the father of the house must demonstrate it himself.' But what happens if the following Monday morning, the business-suited legions march on to Tokyo's trains as if nothing had happened? The next step could be random, unannounced office raids by fashion police.

Subject: Europe: The Unlevel Playing Field
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 10:21:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/20/business/worldbusiness/20euro.html?pagewanted=all Europe: The Unlevel Playing Field By MARK LANDLER MADRID - Like thousands of young Spaniards, Rafael Matito left his home village for Madrid 18 months ago, lured by one of Europe's most thriving capitals. After landing a job as a computer instructor, he and his girlfriend set about achieving the Spanish dream: buying their own home. 'We weren't looking for a villa or anything close to it,' Mr. Matito, 28, said. 'We just wanted one or two rooms.' Madrid was out of the question because of the sky-high prices, so they hunted in the suburbs. But even there, apartments were twice what they could afford. Disillusioned, they called off the search until the market cools - if it ever does. Spain is in the seventh year of a housing boom that with interest rates at historically low levels, shows no sign of cresting. Nearly two decades after joining the European Union, Spain is on the leading edge of an emerging, and troubling, dichotomy between dynamic European countries, with fast-rising asset prices, and lumbering countries, with moribund markets, most notably Germany. Far from converging into a more homogeneous bloc, the 12 countries that use the euro currency are dispersing into sprinters and laggards, with different levels of consumer confidence, industrial activity, and economic vigor. Bustling Ireland, with a growth rate of 5 percent, has little in common with becalmed Italy, where output may actually shrink this year. This has created a conundrum for the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, which sets interest rates for much of the Continent. Just as the Federal Reserve, to some extent, must take into account divergent conditions in Ohio and Arizona, the European bank is learning that it is even trickier to devise a monetary policy that works equally well from Finland to Greece. For months, the bank has signaled it wants to lift rates. But it is afraid of hobbling weak countries like Germany and the Netherlands. While the Germans linger on the edge of a recession, Spaniards are surfing on a sea of easy money, taking out cut-rate mortgages to buy and build houses at a furious pace. 'For the Spanish economy, the advantages of being in a monetary union clearly outweigh the disadvantages,' said José Luis Malo de Molina, the director for research at Banco de España, the Spanish central bank. 'But no monetary policy can address every national problem.' The euro has proved remarkably resilient since its debut in 1999, confounding those who warned that a pan-European currency would be inherently unstable or vulnerable to outside shocks. It has withstood the recent surge in oil prices, and has grown in credibility, particularly as the dollar has lost some of its luster. But the widening divide between euro countries has revived some of the warnings about the pitfalls of a monetary union. Those fissures may widen after a referendum in France that symbolizes the fragility of the European experiment. The French are set to vote May 29 on whether to approve a new constitution for the European Union. With unemployment in France running above 10 percent, voters are leaning toward rejecting it as a way to vent their anger at the government of President Jacques Chirac. Spaniards are more sanguine about their future: they approved the constitution by a wide margin in February. But skeptics say fast-rising housing prices here in Spain, as elsewhere, can be a barometer for other dangers, like an explosion in debt caused by too much money in the system. Mr. Malo de Molina said prices had risen 158 percent since 1997. Even more troubling, loans for new houses nearly tripled. Last fall, the Banco de España estimated that prices were overvalued by up to 20 percent. 'If you go back to the mid-1980's, Spain has had the most rapid price increase in housing of any large country in the world,' said Michael Ball, the author of an annual survey of the European housing market published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in London. For all that, Mr. Ball and other economists doubt that Spain is at risk of a Japan-style meltdown in property prices. The more likely outcome, he said, is for prices to peak and then decline gradually. As prices continue on their vertiginous path, however, Spaniards are starting to talk about a 'burbuja,' Spanish for bubble. 'Bubbles grow quicker than we think, and they burst quicker than we think,' said José Manuel Campa, a professor of finance at the IESE Business School of the University of Navarra. Spain's housing boom is fueled by other factors, including rising incomes, mass immigration and demographic trends. But the main propellant is interest rates, which the European Central Bank has kept at 2 percent, a record low in the post-World War II era, for nearly two years. With inflation and economic output running well above the European average - both close to 3 percent - economists agree that Spain could easily carry a higher interest rate. Germany is the polar opposite. With an unemployment rate of 11.8 percent and growth of less than 1 percent, prices have been flat or even falling in recent years. Foreign investors are buying German property because it is viewed as a bargain. On the other hand, housing prices are rising at double-digit rates in Ireland and France. 'Housing-price inflation is the first indication of a monetary policy that is too expansionary,' said Jörg Krämer, the chief economist of the HVB Group in Munich. 'If we get a bubble, there is a high risk it will burst.' In fact, the European Central Bank has watched the spiraling prices with concern, viewing them as a potential trigger for economic shocks. In February, the bank's president, Jean-Claude Trichet, warned that 'the combination of ample liquidity and strong credit growth could, in some parts of the euro area, become a source of unsustainable price increases in property markets.' To economists who dissect such statements, that was a signal that the bank intended to increase rates. Yet this month, the bank unexpectedly dropped its expression of concern about housing prices from its statement on interest rates. After a battery of negative economic reports from Germany and Italy, the bank watchers say, Europe's faltering growth has replaced asset inflation as the biggest concern of Mr. Trichet and his colleagues. In such a fragile atmosphere, most economists believe, interest rates are not likely to go up for the rest of 2005. And, some add, they should not: the risk of a recession in Germany, which generates a third of the output of the 'euro zone,' outweighs the risks of a housing bubble in Spain. 'The E.C.B.'s stance is appropriate for the euro zone,' said Manuel Balmaseda, the chief economist of BBVA, the second-largest bank in Spain. The Fed, he noted, is not judged on whether its monetary policy is suitable for New York State, but for all 50 American states. That analogy only goes so far, however. While New York may grow at a different rate from California, the United States can adjust for these regional disparities in ways that Europe cannot. There is more labor mobility and wage flexibility in the United States. Americans think little of moving to faster-growing states, like those in the Sun Belt, for jobs. But Germans are not likely to relocate to Spain, except perhaps to retire or buy a vacation home. In fact, second homes also fuel the Spanish market. More houses will be built this year in sun-kissed Andalusia than in Britain or Germany. 'If there's going to be a crash, it's likely to be in these coastal areas,' Mr. Ball said. With this atmosphere of euphoria tinged by foreboding, Spaniards are like partygoers with one eye on the clock. Storefront real estate brokers have sprouted up all over Madrid and its environs, peddling everything from dingy apartments for $189,000 to elegant villas for $3 million and higher. In the suburbs, rows of freshly built villas and apartments climb the scrub-covered hillsides. Eight miles southwest of Madrid, a sprawling bedroom town known as Boadilla del Monte has taken root next to the campuslike headquarters of Spain's largest bank, Grupo Santander. 'Spaniards have a deeply-rooted love for investing in bricks and mortar,' said Pedro Ruiz-Olivares, the head of Santander's real estate division. Homeownership rates, he noted, are among the highest in Europe. Some property tycoons have taken on the swagger of latter-day conquistadors. Metrovacesa, Spain's biggest real estate developer, recently announced a takeover bid worth $7.35 billion for a much larger French rival, Gecina. Metrovacesa's president, Joaquín Rivero Valcarce, said he viewed France as a hedge against a slowdown in the Spanish market. 'We made a lot of money in the last 10 years because of the boom,' he said. 'But we know that Spain isn't going to keep going like this forever.' José and Francesco González-Tejada can relate to that. The two brothers from Seville turned up at a real estate office here the other day to sell an apartment belonging to their sister, who had recently died. The sister bought the three-bedroom flat in the 1950's for the equivalent of 900 euros. They were hoping to get 240,000 euros, even though it is in one of Madrid's rougher neighborhoods. José, who is 74, said that while he was confident, he wanted to unload it as quickly as possible. 'If we sold it next week, that would be great,' he said. 'We're living in a new Spain, and everything is more expensive.'

Subject: How Can We Value REITs
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 05:55:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship4.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName What do these numbers mean? The Vanguard REIT Stock Index has a price earning ratio of 38.8, a return on equity of 9.1, and an earnings growth rate of -5.5%. These numbers make absolutely no sense to me. What am I missing about valuation? There surely seems to be a speculative climate for homes in selected American regions, but I wonder if that extends to commercial real estate as well so I thought to use the REIT Index as a gauge. The earnings growth rate extends over 3 years and is heavily negative at -5.5%. So REIT earning have been slowing; actually the earning growth rate has been negative for more than 4 years, but REIT gain in price. How curious.

Subject: The REIT Stock Index
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 20:54:18 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What do these numbers mean? The Vanguard REIT Stock Index has a price earning ratio of 38.8, a return on equity of 9.1, and an earnings growth rate of -5.5%. These numbers make absolutely no sense to me. What am I missing about valuation?

Subject: What is a Healthy Real Estate Market?
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 05:52:47 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This simply cannot be a healthy real estate market as a whole any longer. Price repeatedly seems of no concern whether in neighborhoods I am familiar with and those I read of, or for commercial ventures. That there are regions in which real estate prices are relatively moderate, has nothing to do with what has happened about Boston and New York City, for instance.

Subject: Depends on one's.......
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 11:05:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
viewpoint. From a buyer's/investor's perspective it's when prices are most depressed (have reached a bottom) and there are few buyers compared to sellers. From a seller's perspective it's when prices are most inflated (approaching a top) and there are few sellers compared to buyers. From a real estate agent's perspective it's when the number of buyers is approximately equal to the number of sellers. When life is good for the maximum number of real estate agents it is also good for the maximum number of buyers/sellers - where neither buyer or seller has a greater advantage/disadvantage with regard to the other. This is where, IMO, we have the healthiest real estate market - from the maximum number of viewpoints.

Subject: Real Estate Speculation
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 19:42:50 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Real estate speculation is being focused on from Fortune on down or up, and the more focus the more there likely will be for a while till some event tempers the demand. Then the question will be whether prices can be at all maintained. REIT stocks are leading the S&P and positive for the year, even after a brilliant 5 year run. This reflects professional real estate ventures. I wonder how much speculation is built into the prices of REITs. I have no guess.

Subject: 'Our House'
From: Pancho Villa alias 'Madness'
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 18:14:50 (EDT)
Email Address: panchovillan@yahoo.com

Message:
KENNETH ROGOFF A healthy global economy begins at home The US Treasury tried to walk a legal tightrope this week. In its biannual foreign exchange report to Congress, it declared that while China is not yet guilty of exchange rate manipulation, it will soon become guilty unless it changes its policy. What exactly does this mean? Too many lawyers must have worked on this phrasing, which rivals Bill Clinton's famously evasive line (in response to a question under oath about whether he was having an affair) 'It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is.' To be fair, the Treasury report is very thoughtful overall, aimed at mollifying trade protectionists in Congress who are proposing punitive tariffs on Chinese imports unless Beijing stops intervening to hold the renmimbi down against the dollar. The report rightly aims to deflect attention from US-Chinese trade by focusing on the way that China's current dollar peg blocks an important price mechanism from helping to unwind today's massive global trade and current account imbalances. Of course, what the Treasury report does not say is that 'global imbalances' is a euphemism for 'US borrowing binge'. After all, America is now absorbing 75 per cent of the current account surpluses of the world's surplus countries, not just China. Nor does the report mention how extraordinarily lax US monetary and fiscal policies of the past few years have probably played a far bigger role than China's peg in exacerbating the problem. Now that the US recession has passed, the starting point for reducing global imbalances has to be faster macroeconomic policy normalisation in America. The report spews the official line that the government is already reducing its own fiscal deficit. But the official target of a 50 per cent deficit reduction by 2009 is hardly ambitious enough, even if it were fully credible. Monetary policy, too, needs to compensate for years of low interest rates that have fuelled an increasingly speculative housing price boom, which has in turn contributed to low personal savings and a bigger current account deficit. But China's exchange rate policy also matters. Indeed, it is hard to see any scenario for unwinding the global imbalances in which Asian currencies do not appreciate sharply against the dollar. According to my latest paper* with Maurice Obstfeld, a halving of the US current account from 6 to 3 per cent of gross domestic product over two years would lead to an 18 per cent appreciation of Asian currencies versus the dollar, with China being on the high side. Eliminating the global imbalances would entail a proportionately larger appreciation (35 per cent) of Asian currencies, and a 10-20 per cent appreciation of major non-Asia currencies including the pound and the euro. If, however, Asia sticks to its dollar peg, Europe gets slammed by massive currency appreciation and massive current account deficits. For good measure, Europe suffers the double whammy of huge (15 per cent of European GDP) capital losses on its dollar and Asian currency assets. Asia's surpluses actually grow in this scenario, as they must to maintain Asia's dollar pegs in the face of an improving US current account. We have talked about China's contribution to smooth global adjustment in the face of massive US borrowing, but what policy is best for China? It is a very tough question, not least because China is really two economies rolled into one. Wealthy coastal China has 450m people living in a vibrant emerging market. But the rest of China, particularly the agricultural sector, has 750m still living in a poor developing country. Many outside observers estimate China's rural unemployment at over 150m people. Poor developing countries typically do well with relatively fixed exchange rates, whereas emerging markets typically need more flexible ones. On balance, given that China's future lies with greater globalisation not less, authorities should probably move very soon to a more flexible exchange rate, while the pressures are towards appreciation and relatively easy to handle. An initial step appreciation accompanied by a move to a managed float would seem to be the ticket. But the urgency of the situation really comes from the need for China to take a lead role in dealing with a global problem. In the meantime, the US Treasury ought to focus its next report on getting the country's own fiscal house in order. *Global Current Account Imbalances and Exchange Rate Adjustments; (www.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/rogoff/papers /BPEA2005.pdf) The writer, a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is professor of economics at Harvard University FT Thursday May 19 2005

Subject: Winners vs losers
From: Pete Weis
To: Pancho Villa alias 'Madness'
Date Posted: Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 22:50:39 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We humans are very competitive beings. We tend to look at ourselves and others as either being winners or losers in a game of accumulating baubles. It rarely occurs to us that we could all be winners or all be losers in this game. I believe 'modern' economics pushes the idea that we all can be winners eventually, to a degree or less, and it is also possible for us all or nearly all to be losers -it doesn't necessarily follow that for some to win others must lose. Afterall the harnessing of energy has made winners of many and life much easier in the process. But we humans won't cooporate with that idea. We often insist on winning at the other's expense and eventually the 'game' fails nearly all of us. I say nearly all because there are always a tiny few who manipulate the system to their advantage. But I'm not blaming the manipulators - there will always be manipulators. The problem is more fundamental. Our instinctive, competitive behavior has not caught up with the theories of modern economics. If all the players in this game would cooporate, and understand that not working together with some give and take will end up making us all losers, then this game will not fail us. One would think that the lessons of the 30's would have made a difference. But we still seemed to be focused on winners vs. losers and are unwilling to seek solutions that make winners out of us all.

Subject: Re: Winners vs losers
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 05:34:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
A wonderful passage, and I agree completely, but obviously we have not learned to work together nearly well enough. I will think more about this.

Subject: CAFTA, Slave Labor, & Outsourcing
From: unlawflcombatnt
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 18:08:58 (EDT)
Email Address: unlawflcombatnt@comcast.net

Message:
CAFTA is the latest anti-worker, pro-slavery, 'free' trade bills being considered in Congress. l urge everyone to write Congress and tell them to vote against CAFTA. This is another bill designed exclusively to facilitate outsourcing of American jobs. The bill is much worse than any of the previous 'free' trade bills. The flaws are even more obvious. It is a dishonest attempt by the Bush administration to portray an outsourcing bill as an attempt at 'opening up markets.' Central American workers are so poor they will NEVER create a market for American goods. Impoverished Central American workers, however, will provide an excellent source of cheap semi-slave labor. This new source of slave-labor will be in direct competition with American labor. The only way American workers will be able to compete is to accept the same slave-labor conditions as their Central American counterparts. CAFTA is nothing but an extension of the disastrous NAFTA scam. American workers will lose jobs, wages will decline, and 0 new jobs will be created. CAFTA's advocates are 100% aware of this. They are simply lying when they talk about 'opening up markets to American goods.' In reality, what they really want is to 'open up' the American labor market to competition with foreign slave-labor. Don't let Benedict Arnold corporations extend their economic treason any further. Americans must continue to stress Economic Patriotism, and oppose this new outsourcing extension. George Bush, and his fellow 'economic terrorists,' continue to espouse outsourcing as being 'good for America.' It is not. And they know it. It helps a selected few at the expense of the many. This bill is a typical product of today's inhuman corporate greed, and its influence on the legislative process. And outsourcing is the epitome of this corporate greed. Again, outsourcing is done exclusively so American corporations can use cheap foreign labor. The underlying motivation behind ALL free trade agreements is to enable American corporations to use the unskilled, impoverished, semi-slave labor of other countries. There has never been any real concern about 'opening up markets.' That is more than just a mistaken concept. It is an outright lie from Bush and the economists that espouse 'opening up markets.' The minuscule income of these 3rd world countries makes it impossible for them to buy American products. Bush knows this. Mankiw knows this. Snow knows this. The man on the moon knows this. Markets are created by aggregate consumer income, not people. Countries with little aggregate consumer income have minuscule-sized markets. Exporting countries that pay their 11-year old slave laborers $2/day will never, ever buy US products. Those wages don't provide enough consumer income to do so. Chinese and Indian industries would collapse if they had to depend on their own populations to purchase the bulk of goods and services they produce. Wages and consumer income are too low for them to survive on domestic sales. They depend on the American consumer market, which is created by American wages (and borrowing). When American industry outsources jobs, it outsources consumer income as well. This is the same income that purchases their products. Loss of jobs also places downward pressure on employed workers' wages. If labor demand decreases, so do wages. If this trend continues, Americans will be unable to purchase 80% of its own goods, as it currently does. Demand for goods, and the labor to produce them, will decrease further. This will further reduce consumer income and buying power. This is a self-perpetuating cycle, which will result in a continued decrease in DEMAND for American production. The price reduction on foreign-produced goods does not make up for the income lost. It is simply illogical to think so. If it did compensate, there would be no benefit to outsourcing. Wal-Mart statistics, provided by Wal-Mart, provide some insight. A Wal-Mart spokesperson recently stated that consumers save $600/year purchasing goods from Wal-Mart. He also admitted, however, that Wal-Mart wages were $2/hour lower than those of the average retail sales worker. Here's the math: $2/hr x 40hr/week x 52weeks = $4160 per year less income for a Wal-Mart employee. However, the $4160 is only a small part of the labor income actually lost, because it is confined to retail sales employees only. Nearly 100% of the labor income from production workers is lost, since Wal-Mart buys most of its products from production facilities ouside the U.S. The loss of income by American production workers is even greater. Does $600/year in consumer savings make up for income lost by retail employees and production workers? Of course not. Aggregate consumer income decreases FAR more than prices decrease. The price savings are MUCH less than the amount of labor income lost. The only income increase is in CEO salaries and corporate profits. And that increase is entirely at the expense of the American worker. Increased corporate profits are EXCLUSIVELY from reduction in labor costs. In other words, this profit comes directly out of the pockets of American workers. American workers are the most highly educated, highly skilled, productive workers on the planet. They produce more goods per hour than any of the workers they are losing their jobs to. But they are not as productive measured in goods per dollar. American workers lack the 'skills' to survive on $2/day. We need to begin retraining them to acquire this skill. Our educational system has completely failed us here. And the ability to survive on $2/day is THE most essential job skill in today's market. We definiely need to increase federal funding to teach this 'skill.' In reality, the 're-training' mantra is just a copout. The solution to outsourcing is not increased worker training. Nor is it increased funding to job-displacement programs. It is not extension of unemployment benefits. The solution to the outsourcing problem is to stop outsourcing. Period. Repeal ALL 'free' trade agreements. We have absolutely no need for any 'free' trade agreements. We already had free trade before any of these agreements were ever created. NAFTA, FTAA, CAFTA and the others have only one real goal -- to reduce the labor costs by using the slave labor of impoverished countries. This makes American workers compete with the exploited labor of poor countries. American workers then become no more than slaves themselves. Is this the job retraining Bush has in mind? Economists speak of 'comparative advantage' with outsourcing. This outdated concept is nothing but economic fantasy. It's what Right-Wing, 'alternate reality' economists hide behind when defending outsourcing. They should lose their economic degrees for even mentioning this in public. It's a long, twisted, completely non-applicable concoction, which is designed to disguise the real reasons for outsourcing. Mankiw and Snow know better than to hide behind the 'comparative advantage' fairy tale. Bush may be too stupid to be held completely accountable for his policies. But Mankiw and Snow are nothing but taxpayer-paid liars. The Bush/Mankiw/Snow/Greenspan 'economic axis-of-evil' may destroy our economy. unlawflcombatnt EconomicPopulistCommentary http://www.unlawflcombatnt.blogspot.com/ EconomicPopulistCommentary www.unlawflcombatnt.blogspot.com/

Subject: Re: CAFTA, Slave Labor, & Outsourcing
From: Ryan
To: unlawflcombatnt
Date Posted: Fri, May 20, 2005 at 12:12:56 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Have we been living in the same country for the past 10 years. NAFTA has beneficial to all three economies involved and free trade with Central America will only do the same. One thing you must remember, no one forces workers to attend those jobs. It creates jobs in poor areas, yes maybe not high paying, but jobs. I remember when all the accusations were being placed on Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand. Gosh those economies have it so bad because of it! It's time to wake up, we are entering a globalized economy. How can openning small markets to the world be a bad thing for those people. Please reply with your race to the bottom come backs that you learned in your business 101 class. Free trade is good! Last time I checked, even liberal economists are in favor of free trade (PK and others).

Subject: Re: CAFTA, Slave Labor, & Outsourcing
From: unlawflcombatnt
To: Ryan
Date Posted: Sat, May 28, 2005 at 00:35:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'Have we been living in the same country for the past 10 years. NAFTA has beneficial to all three economies involved and free trade with Central America will only do the same.' Apparently you've been living in a different country than me. A country founded on the proposition that all truth is 'created,' not discovered. NAFTA has been a complete disaster, and everyone except you knows it. You don't have any specific or logical arguments to make. You simply state that 'even liberal economists favor free trade.' You don't have any idea what you're talking about. Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz has expressed major reservations. World-renowned economist Paul Samuelson has basically come out against free trade. In case you weren't aware of it, Lou Dobbs also has a degree in economics. Why don't come back with some specific facts, or logical arguments? You're just regurgitating typical pro-free trade soundbites. Do some thinking. You site no facts or logic to support your arrogant Neocon, Neo-Nut comments. Let me help you remove your veil of ignorance. Then you can come back with another of your clever, 'business 101' comments. Free trade advocates often justify their position by stating a desire to uplift the poor in foreign countries. Not only do I oppose that position on nationalistic grounds, I question the benefits to 3rd world countries as well. Lack of benefit to 3rd-world countries is the point I'd like to stress here. Outsourcing does NOT raise aggregate global wages. In fact, outsourcing labor costs to a low-wage country REDUCES global labor wages and income. If a $90/day American laborer is substituted for by $2/day foreign laborer, it reduces aggregate global labor income. Global labor income is what buys production and creates demand. Outsourcing reduces aggregate global labor income, thus reducing total consumer spending world wide. American workers lose income and buying power with outsourcing. That loss is NOT made up for by increase in foreign wages. This is just plain common sense. It's impossible for cost reductions to make up for wage losses. If American workers can't buy America's production, then foreign workers need to pick up the slack. Does anyone really think that's possible? Can $2/day foreign workers make up for the buying power lost by $90/day American workers? That's $88/day/worker in lost labor income per worker. It would take the labor income of 45 $2/day workers to make up that labor income loss. Does anyone really think that'll happen? Of course not. The only benefit to anyone is the short-term cost reduction to American outsourcers, and a slight price decrease for American consumers. The numbers just don't add up. Global labor competition causes aggregate global labor income to drop. It increases the labor supply available to American corporations, and decreases worker bargaining power. This is simple supply and demand. If the supply of labor increases 100-fold, it will drive the 'price' of labor down. Labor 'price' reduction means labor wage reduction. Thus, the end result will be a dramatic reduction in American labor income, as well as a lesser reduction in global wages. Outsourcing and globalization don't 'raise' anybody up. It drags all workers down. Jobs will go to the most impoverished workers, and employers won't pay them a penny more than they have to. We cannot enforce minimum wage laws, or other worker protections in foreign countries. Even more important, however, is that Corporate America doesn't want to. Why would they? It would increase the price of their exploited foreign labor. The poorer the worker, the more willingly they accept poverty-level wages. Their impoverishment is Corporate America's gain. Let's not forget that someone needs to buy the goods produced. Who will buy them if American wages drop to the level of their enslaved foreign counterparts? People can't purchase goods without income. And very low income means very few goods purchased. Demand cannnot be created out of thin air. Consumers must have sufficient income to create that demand. Without demand, there is no need for production, and no need to hire workers. The entire world economy would collapse without the Demand created by American consumers. That demand is created by American income and borrowing. We're almost maxed out on borrowing at present. In addition, inflation-adjusted American wages are declining. They've declined 1% over the last year, and 0.5% over the last 3 months. The last thing the US and the world need is a further decline in American wages. American wage decline hurts the US, as well as the major exporting countries. If aggregate American labor & consumer income declines, so does our ability to buy foreign imports. Increasing American labor competition with enslaved foreign workers is worsening this wage decline. It's not only in our best interests to keep jobs in the US, it's to the advantage of all countries that export to us. We need income to buy their goods. 'Opening up markets' sounds like a good idea. But it's a smokescreen. It's not the real motivation behind 'free' trade agreements. The real motivation is 'opening up' the American labor market to competion with slave-labor. Bush and his neocon supporters know this. They hope we won't see it. Many of us do, however. Hopefully we can make others see this as well. unlawflcombatnt EconomicPopulistCommentary http://www.unlawflcombatnt.blogspot.com/ ___________________________ Investment does NOT create jobs. It only 'allows' for their creation. Demand for goods creates jobs - it requires workers to produce goods. Investment 'permits' job growth. Demand requires it. Investment creates NO jobs w/o demand. America needs a return to Demand-Side economic policies. Consumer spending and demand drive our economy. Investment 'permits' growth, but only DEMAND will cause such growth. Production is limited by Aggregate demand for that production. EconomicPopulistCommentary www.unlawflcombatnt.blogspot.com/

Subject: China Has to Raise the Value of the Yuan
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 17:14:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Do not mistake my comments, China has to move on currency. Export taxes will not suffice, there needs to be several currency adjustments to relieve pressure on China's economy as on ours. Dollar reserves cannot be safely accumulated by China all that much longer. Of this I am convinced. That currency adjustment means a rising value for the Yuan, allows for an implicit boasting that will soften the change and make it more possible. The Chinese economy really should be flexible enough to turn readily to more of a domestic consumption emphasis. My goodness, the domestic saving is surely there.

Subject: Paul Krugman in the Asia Times
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 15:18:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Global Economy May 19, 2005 THE ROVING EYE 'We are a banana republic' By Pepe Escobar BANGKOK - With a playful smile, Paul Krugman says China will inevitably become the world's No 1 economy, depending on the criteria one applies, 'by 2020 to 2040'. You can't be too careful when it's early evening, but the internal clock says it's early morning US East Coast time, you crave for breakfast, but soon have to address a US$250-a-plate dinner. Krugman adds - to the despair of many a neo-con - that a multipolar world is also inevitable, the poles being the US, the European Union, China and India (not Russia). But China has to watch out for environmental constraints and address its pressing water problem ('they say that the Yellow River never reaches the sea'.) Professor Paul Krugman, currently enjoying the status of being the Mick Jagger of political/economic punditry, is in Bangkok to address a seminar on how Thailand should position itself in the global economy - although he's also careful to point out he's no Thailand specialist; he does not even know exactly what 'Thaksonomics' means - a reference to Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's policies. He says Thailand has not experienced a 'searing recovery like Malaysia or even Argentina' and 'has not returned to the growth rate of 1996, before the Asian crisis'. But 'it could be a lot worse'. Thaksin would take that as an endorsement. Krugman, a laid-back, affable personality, forgets about his jet lag when he starts talking to Asia Times Online about the US and the global economy. The facts are known to all: half-a-trillion-dollar deficits, the endless quagmire in Iraq, the weak dollar, loss of industrial competitiveness. If he were Obi wan-Kenobi in this particular galaxy, what would he do to extricate the US from this mess? 'No more budget deficits,' he says. 'We should be running surpluses.' Tax increases: 'We should be getting 28% of GDP [gross domestic product] in revenue. We are only collecting 17%.' And most of all, clean up the foreign-policy mess. Not much of a chance though. 'We are a banana republic. For the moment, all of these things are politically impossible.' Krugman sees three reasons forcing the US to leave Iraq: domestic pressure; military problems, caused by Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld's insistence on invading Iraq with a small army; and the fact that the Shi'ites (not the Sunnis) may become more of a problem. 'We do not control Iraq, by all means. It's under the control of militias.' He notes that many in America, like the financial elite in Wall Street, for instance, don't even want to talk about it anymore, pretending the quagmire will vanish by itself. Unlike scores of independent analysts, Krugman does not think much of a possible switch from petrodollars to petroeuros - already contemplated by Russia and some Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members: 'It's an overrated issue.' He says the US gets only $20 billion out of all those $100 bills floating around the world. 'The US is already losing position anyway. The Russian mafia is now using euros. This is not a big deal.' He sees a shift toward diversifying reserves as inevitable both in Japan and emerging Asia. And for him, the dollar is not weak enough: 'It should go down more, for instance, against the yen.' He does not realistically expect a major devaluation of the Chinese yuan - maximum 5%. Krugman admits it's hard to predict what happens next: 'It needs a trigger. But I'm convinced it's the collapse of the housing market in the US that will trigger the dollar's decline.' Krugman has never personally met Pascal Lamy - the new director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) - but says he has only heard good things about the former European trade commissioner, whose job until recently was to vigorously defend European farm subsidies, to the chagrin of the developing world. 'I don't blame him for doing his job. I think he'll be serious at the helm of the WTO. The big players - the US, the EU - respect him. The decisions to be made are politically difficult. But whenever the US applies pressure, something happens.' He does not think that the Doha round has failed. 'At the end, they will come up with something.' Krugman may be a relatively reluctant warrior in his position as one of the most influential pundits on the planet - courtesy of his widely reprinted New York Times columns. 'My life would be much calmer now.' But he wouldn't have been able to live with himself if he hadn't taken the job. He's still amazed by the level of vitriol in current American political discourse - 'and I'm not talking only about the left, you should see what comes from the right and the extreme right'. Krugman recently relocated to Princeton, New Jersey. He's a lover of Thai food - something that prompts him to say, 'people usually think that globalization means Americanization. But look at Thai food, sushi, Hong Kong movies'. Unlike Boston - where he used to live - and New York, 'it's not easy to find a Thai restaurant in the middle of New Jersey'. In the interests of globalization, some gentle souls in the 'banana republic' might as well supply the professor with a proper Thai meal once in a while.

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman in the Asia Times
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 17:16:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'Krugman admits it's hard to predict what happens next: 'It needs a trigger. But I'm convinced it's the collapse of the housing market in the US that will trigger the dollar's decline.'' Precisely as Pete argues. Yes, I worry about this.

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman in the Asia Times
From: Pancho Villa
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 18:52:23 (EDT)
Email Address: panchovillan@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/GE19Dj01.html

Subject: China Rejects Calls for Currency Changes
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 12:15:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/19/business/worldbusiness/19yuan.html China Rejects Calls for Currency Changes and Limits on Textile Exports By CHRIS BUCKLEY - International Herald Tribune BEIJING - Chinese officials on Wednesday angrily rebuffed both Washington's blunt demand that China loosen its fixed exchange rate policy and Europe's threat of quotas on a tide of Chinese textiles. The United States should 'put its own house in order before blaming others' for its trade deficit, said Wei Benhua, deputy director of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, which manages China's currency reserves. Mr. Wei made his comments at a conference in Singapore, according to Bloomberg News. On Tuesday, the United States Treasury made the most stinging official attack so far on China's foreign exchange policy in a report that warned China to revalue its yuan - pegged at 8.28 to the dollar. The report hinted at retaliation if the yuan was not allowed to appreciate. In Beijing on Wednesday, China's minister of commerce, Bo Xilai, criticized the European Union's threat to impose restrictions on Chinese textiles, calling the decision hypocritical. 'Everybody is espousing free trade, but there shouldn't be double standards,' Mr. Bo said to a meeting of international business leaders. 'When you have an absolute advantage, you advocate free trade and make everyone open the door, but when developing countries begin to challenge you, you immediately set limits and shut the door.' But reactions from Chinese bankers and officials, including recent comments from the prime minister, Wen Jiabao, suggest that China is unlikely to revalue its currency soon or to bow to Western limits on Chinese garment exports. Indeed, the public chastisement of China in Washington, and the accompanying burst of market speculation on the timing of an exchange rate shift, may make it less likely China will make the swift changes demanded. 'The U.S. government and experts are entitled to have their views on China's exchange rate, and I don't feel the pressure in itself is a problem,' Li Lihui, the president of the Bank of China, said. 'But the problem is that this public pressure brings in its wake rising speculative factors, and those speculative pressures make it less likely, not more likely, China can move.' China is committed to a 'step by step' loosening of its exchange rate, by expanding the band in which the yuan trades against the dollar, Mr. Li said. 'But the hotter the market speculation, the more we can't move,' he added. Chinese foreign ministry and central bank representatives had no immediate reaction to the Treasury Department's report. The Chinese spokesmen instead pointed to Mr. Wen's comments on Monday defending the country's gradual approach to exchange rate reform and contending that the pressure for change on the currency, known also as renminbi, or RMB, was an affront to sovereignty. 'Reform of the RMB exchange rate belongs to China's sovereignty,' Mr. Wen told a delegation from the United States Chamber of Commerce. 'We'll respect the laws of the market economy, but we won't bow to external pressure, or any pressure or speculation. Politicizing economic issues doesn't help solve problems.' But without concrete action, China will face increasing anger in Washington, said Thomas J. Donohue, president of the chamber, who attended the meeting with Mr. Wen. 'The Chinese are very aware we have a serious problem in Washington right now,' Mr. Donohue said. The American trade deficit with China soared to a record $162 billion in 2004, and was followed by a tide of Chinese textile exports that resulted in the announcement of new quotas last week. Any likely adjustment of China's exchange rate would be marginal and not rapidly reverse the United States' trade deficit with China, Mr. Donohue said. 'But I think it will change the relationship deficit,' he said, referring to the growing strains between the countries. In a country where memories of colonial economic subjugation run deep, however, the Treasury's demands may have the effect of making concessions on exchange rate policy politically risky, bankers in China said. 'Outside pressure is actually becoming a political obstacle,' said Chen Xingdong, the chief China economist of BNP Paribas Peregrine Securities. 'It's a political one, because China cannot be seen making a decision based on external pressure.' Kenneth Lieberthal, a China expert at the University of Michigan and former National Security Council official, said the pressure 'encourages them to both reform and also to dig in their heels.' Speaking at a news briefing here, he added that China's leaders 'really value an approach that makes it appear that bullying China doesn't work.' Recent indicators, which reflect some cooling in China's economy and a surge in currency speculation, make it even less likely China will opt for an early shift in exchange rate policy, Mr. Chen said. A recent spike in one-year nondeliverable forward contracts in Hong Kong - a financial instrument that allows investors to wager on the future value of China's currency - as well as China's swelling foreign currency coffers, suggest speculative pressures have recently grown, he said. And Chinese bankers said the government might not want to alter the exchange rate at a time when speculative pressure might overwhelm China's brittle financial defenses.

Subject: Up From the Holler: Two Worlds
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 10:58:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/19/national/class/DELLA-FINAL.html?hp=&pagewanted=all Up From the Holler: Living in Two Worlds, at Home in Neither By TAMAR LEWIN PIKEVILLE, Ky. - Della Mae Justice stands before the jury in the Pike County Courthouse, arguing that her client's land in Greasy Creek Hollow was illegally grabbed when the neighbors expanded their cemetery behind her home. With her soft Appalachian accent, Ms. Justice leaves no doubt that she is a local girl, steeped in the culture of the old family cemeteries that dot the mountains here in East Kentucky. 'I grew up in a holler, I surely did,' she tells jurors as she lays out the boundary conflict. Ms. Justice is, indeed, a product of the Appalachian coal-mining country where lush mountains flank rust-colored creeks, the hollows rising so steeply that there is barely room for a house on either side of the creeks. Her family was poor, living for several years in a house without indoor plumbing. Her father was absent; her older half-brother sometimes had to hunt squirrels for the family to eat. Her mother married again when Della was 9. But the stepfather, a truck driver, was frequently on the road, and her mother, who was mentally ill, often needed the young Della to care for her. Ms. Justice was always hungry for a taste of the world beyond the mountains. Right after high school, she left Pike County, making her way through college and law school, spending time in France, Scotland and Ireland, and beginning a high-powered legal career. In just a few years she moved up the ladder from rural poverty to the high-achieving circles of the middle class. Now, at 34, she is back home. But her journey has transformed her so thoroughly that she no longer fits in easily. Her change in status has left Ms. Justice a little off balance, seeing the world from two vantage points at the same time: the one she grew up in and the one she occupies now. Far more than people who remain in the social class they are born to, surrounded by others of the same background, Ms. Justice is sensitive to the cultural significance of the cars people drive, the food they serve at parties, where they go on vacation - all the little clues that indicate social status. By every conventional measure, Ms. Justice is now solidly middle class, but she is still trying to learn how to feel middle class. Almost every time she expresses an idea, or explains herself, she checks whether she is being understood, asking, 'Does that make sense?' 'I think class is everything, I really do,' she said recently. 'When you're poor and from a low socioeconomic group, you don't have a lot of choices in life. To me, being from an upper class is all about confidence. It's knowing you have choices, knowing you set the standards, knowing you have connections.' Broken Ties In Pikeville, the site of the Hatfield-McCoy feud (Ms. Justice is a Hatfield), memories are long and family roots mean a lot. Despite her success, Ms. Justice worries about what people might remember about her, especially about the time when she was 15 and her life with her mother and stepfather imploded in violence, sending her into foster care for a wretched nine months. 'I was always in the lowest socioeconomic group,' she said, 'but foster care ratcheted it down another notch. I hate that period of my life, when for nine months I was a child with no family.' While she was in foster care, Ms. Justice lived in one end of a double-wide trailer, with the foster family on the other end. She slept alongside another foster child, who wet the bed, and every morning she chose her clothes from a box of hand-me-downs. She was finally rescued when her father heard about her situation and called his nephew, Joe Justice. Joe Justice was 35 years older than Della, a successful lawyer who lived in the other Pikeville, one of the well-to-do neighborhoods on the mountain ridges. He and his wife, Virginia, had just built a four-bedroom contemporary home, complete with a swimming pool, on Cedar Gap Ridge. Joe Justice had never even met his cousin until he saw her in the trailer, but afterward he told his wife that it was 'abhorrent' for a close relative to be in foster care. While poverty is common around Pikeville, foster care is something much worse: a sundering of the family ties that count for so much. So Joe and Virginia Justice took Della Mae in. She changed schools, changed address - changed worlds, in effect - and moved into an octagonal bedroom downstairs from the Justices' 2 year-old son. 'The shock of going to live in wealth, with Joe and Virginia, it was like Little Orphan Annie going to live with the Rockefellers,' Ms. Justice said. 'It was not easy. I was shy and socially inept. For the first time, I could have had the right clothes, but I didn't have any idea what the right clothes were. I didn't know much about the world, and I was always afraid of making a wrong move. When we had a school trip for chorus, we went to a restaurant. I ordered a club sandwich, but when it came with those toothpicks on either end, I didn't know how to eat it, so I just sat there, staring at it and starving, and said I didn't feel well.' Joe and Virginia Justice worried about Della Mae's social unease and her failure to mingle with other young people in their church. But they quickly sensed her intelligence and encouraged her to attend Berea College, a small liberal arts institution in Kentucky that accepts students only from low-income families. Tuition is free and everybody works. For Ms. Justice, as for many other Berea students, the experience of being one among many poor people, all academically capable and encouraged to pursue big dreams, was life-altering. It was at Berea that Ms. Justice met the man who became her husband, Troy Price, the son of a tobacco farmer with a sixth-grade education. They married after graduation, and when Ms. Justice won a fellowship, the couple went to Europe for a year of independent travel and study. When Ms. Justice won a scholarship to the University of Kentucky law school in Lexington, Mr. Price went with her, to graduate school in family studies. After graduating fifth in her law school class, Ms. Justice clerked for a federal judge, then joined Lexington's largest law firm, where she put in long hours in hopes of making partner. She and her husband bought a townhouse, took trips, ate in restaurants almost every night and spent many Sunday afternoons at real estate open houses in Lexington's elegant older neighborhoods. By all appearances, they were on the fast track. But Ms. Justice still felt like an outsider. Her co-editors on the law review, her fellow clerks at the court and her colleagues at the law firm all seemed to have a universe of information that had passed her by. She saw it in matters big and small - the casual references, to Che Guevara or Mount Vesuvius, that meant nothing to her; the food at dinner parties that she would not eat because it looked raw in the middle. 'I couldn't play Trivial Pursuit, because I had no general knowledge of the world,' she said. 'And while I knew East Kentucky, they all knew a whole lot about Massachusetts and the Northeast. They all knew who was important, whose father was a federal judge. They never doubted that they had the right thing to say. They never worried about anything.' Most of all, they all had connections that fed into a huge web of people with power. 'Somehow, they all just knew each other,' she said. Knitting a New Family Ms. Justice's life took an abrupt turn in 1999, when her half-brother, back in Pike County, called out of the blue to say that his children, Will and Anna Ratliff, who had been living with their mother, were in foster care. Ms. Justice and her brother had not been close, and she had met the children only once or twice, but the call was impossible to ignore. As her cousin Joe had years earlier, she found it intolerable to think of her flesh and blood in foster care. So over the next year, Della Mae Justice and her husband got custody of both children and went back to Pikeville, only 150 miles away but far removed from their life in Lexington. The move made all kinds of sense. Will and Anna, now 13 and 12, could stay in touch with their mother and father. Mr. Price got a better job, as executive director of Pikeville's new support center for abused children. Ms. Justice went to work for her cousin at his law firm, where a flexible schedule allowed her to look after the two children. And yet for Ms. Justice the return to Pikeville has been almost as dislocating as moving out of foster care and into that octagonal bedroom all those years ago. On a rare visit recently to the hollows where she used to live, she was moved to tears when a neighbor came out, hugged her and told her how he used to pray and worry for her and how happy he was that she had done so well. But mostly, she winces when reminded of her past. 'Last week, I picked up the phone in my office,' she recalled, 'and the woman said who she was, and then said, 'You don't remember me, do you?' And I said, 'Were you in foster care with me?' That was crazy. Why would I do that? It's not something I advertise, that I was in care.' While most of her workweek is devoted to commercial law, Ms. Justice spends Mondays in family court, representing families with the kind of problems hers had. She bristles whenever she runs into any hint of class bias, or the presumption that poor people in homes heated by kerosene or without enough bedrooms cannot be good parents. 'The norm is, people that are born with money have money, and people who weren't don't,' she said recently. 'I know that. I know that just to climb the three inches I have, which I've not gone very far, took all of my effort. I have worked hard since I was a kid and I've done nothing but work to try and pull myself out.' The class a person is born into, she said, is the starting point on the continuum. 'If your goal is to become, on a national scale, a very important person, you can't start way back on the continuum, because you have too much to make up in one lifetime. You have to make up the distance you can in your lifetime so that your kids can then make up the distance in their lifetime.' Coming to Terms With Life Ms. Justice is still not fully at ease in the other, well-to-do Pikeville, and in many ways she and her husband had to start from scratch in finding a niche there. Church is where most people in town find friends and build their social life. But Ms. Justice and Mr. Price had trouble finding a church that was a comfortable fit; they went through five congregations, starting at the Baptist church she had attended as a child and ending up at the Disciples of Christ, an inclusive liberal church with many affluent members. The pastor and his wife, transplants to Kentucky, have become their closest friends. Others have come more slowly. 'Partly the problem is that we're young, for middle-class people, to have kids as old as Will and Anna,' Ms. Justice said. 'And the fact that we're raising a niece and nephew, that's kind of a flag that we weren't always middle class, just like saying you went to Berea College tells everyone you were poor.' And though in terms of her work Ms. Justice is now one of Pikeville's leading citizens, she is still troubled by the old doubts and insecurities. 'My stomach's always in knots getting ready to go to a party, wondering if I'm wearing the right thing, if I'll know what to do,' she said. 'I'm always thinking: How does everybody else know that? How do they know how to act? Why do they all seem so at ease?' A lot of her energy now goes into Will and Anna. She wants to bring them up to have the middle-class ease that still eludes her. 'Will and Anna know what it's like to be poor, and now we want them to be able to be just regular kids,' she said. 'When I was young, I always knew who were the kids at school with the involved parents that brought in the cookies, and those were the kids who got chosen for every special thing, not ones like me, who got free lunch and had to borrow clothes from their aunt if there was a chorus performance.' Because Ms. Justice is self-conscious about her teeth - 'the East Kentucky overbite,' she says ruefully - she made sure early on that Anna got braces. She worries about the children's clothes as much as her own. 'Everyone else seems to know when the khaki pants the boys need are on sale at J. C. Penney,' she said. 'I never know these things.' As a child, Ms. Justice never had the resources for her homework projects. So when Anna was assigned to build a Navajo hogan, they headed to Wal-Mart for supplies. 'We put in extra time, so she would appear like those kids with the involved parents,' Ms. Justice said. 'I know it's just a hogan, but making a project that looks like the other kids' projects is part of fitting in.' Ms. Justice encouraged Will to join the Boy Scouts, and when he was invited to join his school's Academic Team, which competes in quiz bowls, she insisted that he try it. When he asked her whether he might become a drug addict if he took the medicine prescribed for him, she told him it was an excellent question, and at the doctor's office prompted him to ask the doctor directly. She nudges both children to talk about what happens in school, to recount the plots of the books they read and to discuss current events. It is this kind of guidance that distinguishes middle-class children from children of working-class and poor families, according to sociologists who have studied how social class affects child-rearing. While working-class parents usually teach their children, early on, to do what they are told without argument and to manage their own free time, middle-class parents tend to play an active role in shaping their children's activities, seeking out extracurricular activities to build their talents, and encouraging them to speak up and even to negotiate with authority figures. Ms. Justice's efforts are making a difference. Will found that he enjoyed Academic Team. Anna now gets evening phone calls from several friends. Both have begun to have occasional sleepovers. And gradually, Ms. Justice is coming to terms with her own life. On New Year's Eve, after years in a modest rented townhouse, she and her husband moved into a new house that reminds her of the Brady Bunch home. It has four bedrooms and a swimming pool. In a few years, when her older cousin retires, Ms. Justice will most likely take over the practice, a solid prospect, though far less lucrative, and less glamorous, than a partnership at her Lexington law firm. 'I've worked very hard all my life - to have a life that's not so far from where I started out,' she said. 'It is different, but it's not the magical life I thought I'd get.'

Subject: Hong Kong Acts on Currency
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 10:24:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/19/business/worldbusiness/19peg.html Hong Kong Acts on Currency to Discourage Speculators By KEITH BRADSHER HONG KONG - Monetary authorities here changed the link between this territory's currency and the United States dollar on Wednesday, in an attempt to discourage speculators from using the local currency as a way to bet on a possible move by China to let its currency appreciate against the dollar. The action by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority underscored a problem being faced by central banks across East Asia. Currency traders are moving large sums around the region in the hope of profiting if China allows its currency, the yuan, to become worth more dollars. Since 1983, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority has maintained a floor for the Hong Kong dollar, initially at 7.75 to the United States dollar and at 7.80 to the dollar since 1998. It has intervened when necessary in currency markets to make sure the Hong Kong dollar does not weaken beyond that level. Until Wednesday, however, the authority, which has some of the functions of a central bank, never declared a ceiling for the currency's value, although it intervened occasionally to stop appreciation and kept the currency effectively pegged at 7.80 to the American dollar. A ceiling, on the other hand, would prevent the Hong Kong dollar from strengthening beyond a certain limit, which the authority set on Wednesday at 7.75 to the United States dollar. The absence of a ceiling has prompted currency traders and investors from around the world to pour money into Hong Kong in the hope that the Hong Kong dollar might also appreciate if China were to let the yuan rise. This inflow has kept interest rates here unusually low - close to zero - for bank deposits and has fed a wave of real estate speculation, as wealthy investors have borrowed heavily to buy luxury apartments with prices now approaching $4,000 a square foot. The monetary authority's action on Wednesday evening was intended to stop the speculation by eliminating the previous floor for the currency. Instead, the currency will be allowed to trade in a range from 7.75 to 7.85 to the dollar, setting a new limit on the currency's appreciation and also lowering the floor for the currency slightly. Joseph Yam, the monetary authority's chief executive, said that he did not know whether China would let the yuan rise someday, but added that Wednesday's change was intended to 'reduce the usage of the Hong Kong dollar as a vehicle for speculation on a revaluation.' James Malcolm, a currency strategist at Deutsche Bank in Singapore, said the new rules would make it harder for currency traders to use the Hong Kong dollar for bets on the value of the yuan. 'It makes it a lot less attractive,' he said. Mr. Yam said that he hoped that speculative money would be withdrawn from Hong Kong as soon as possible. The monetary authority also regulates the territory's banks, and Mr. Yam has worried publicly this spring that banks flush with overseas money might make ill-advised loans at very low interest rates as they struggled to find uses for the money flowing in. The Chinese government makes it hard to invest directly in the yuan, by severely limiting most money coming into the country except in connection with exports, imports and approved foreign investments. So speculators have taken to putting large sums of money into other Asian currencies in the hope that they will appreciate as well if the yuan rises. If the yuan rises, Chinese exports will tend to become more expensive and less competitive in overseas markets. Currency traders have been betting that if China lets the yuan appreciate, other central banks in the region will slow their intervention and let their currencies appreciate as well, because there would be less risk of losing foreign markets to Chinese exports.

Subject: China's Growth Ebbs
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 10:03:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/19/business/worldbusiness/19china.html?pagewanted=all China's Growth Ebbs, a Deterrent to Revaluation By KEITH BRADSHER HONG KONG - A string of economic indicators suggests that China has tempered recent growth and inflation, an achievement that could make it more reluctant to appease demands on Tuesday from the Bush administration to let its currency rise soon. The figures on softening domestic growth in China set the stage for continued tensions with the United States, which already said last week that it planned to impose quotas on imported Chinese trousers, underwear and cotton shirts. Already, Chinese officials have resisted calls from Washington to allow currency changes and have denounced preparations by the European Union to limit imports of Chinese clothing. According to Chinese figures released this week, inflation has slowed significantly - with consumer prices just 1.8 percent higher in April than a year earlier. Inventories of unsold goods are rising at steel mills and other businesses, and imports of iron ore and many other raw materials have slipped. While exports remain extremely strong, domestic economic activity has moderated. Beijing officials have imposed administrative measures that seem to have been surprisingly effective in controlling a potentially overheated economy and inflation. 'The government has been saying for some time that they would rein in the economy,' said Harry Banga, vice chairman of the Noble Group, a shipping and commodities business based in Hong Kong, 'and it would seem that they have succeeded.' Few foresee a serious risk that the Chinese economy might slow too much, especially as long as exports continue soaring at an annual pace of more than 30 percent. Chinese officials have said that their decisions on currency policy will be driven by long-term matters involving how they manage the country's economy, not short-term considerations about how to even out economic cycles. But one virtue of a stronger currency is that it tends to make imports cheaper and hold down inflation, and China, at least temporarily, now seems to have less need of this. The question debated by economists and business executives is how long the current pause in economic growth and inflation will last. Put another way, how much longer can the administrative controls, like limits on bank loans, remain effective in preventing another unsustainable burst of economic output. 'Compared with a few months ago, six months ago, from a policy maker's point of view,' said Qu Hongbin, an HSBC economist, 'there's less worry about economic problems, although it is too early to declare victory.' Some economists foresee a surge in inflation and economic growth after the spring, contending that year-over-year comparisons now can be misleading because the economy was starting to overheat in the spring of 2004. Others worry that credit-starved Chinese companies and public works managers are becoming more cautious about spending money as banks, warned by regulators to be more prudent, are more wary in making loans. At stake is not only the health of China's economy but also growth across Asia. Regional economies have come to depend on exports to China; Japanese machinery makers, for instance, are already struggling with weaker sales. Europe and especially the United States depend much less on exports to China. But officials there are likely to pay increased attention to whether policy makers in Beijing let the nation's currency, the yuan, rise in the markets. The value added in industrial production, which limits the effect of rising raw material prices, increased 16 percent in China in April, the government said Wednesday, a slight slowdown from a year-on-year increase of 16.2 percent in the first quarter. And the value added from industrial production could have declined further, were it not for a 29.9 percent increase in industrial exports in April. The government is scheduled to announce figures on Thursday or Friday for fixed-asset investment in apartment buildings and other large projects. Private economists expect an increase of 22 percent to 24 percent for the month of April from a year earlier, although the figure will be inflated by fast-rising prices for land purchases, which Chinese statisticians count as investments even as statisticians in many other countries do not. Economists concerned that China may soon show another surge in growth and inflation point out that producer prices are still rising more than 5 percent a year. They contend that year-over-year comparisons of economic statistics are a problem right now because the Chinese economy had acute problems with overheating in the spring of 2004, with clogged rail lines and arriving ships waiting in line for up to a month to discharge cargo, even as a poor harvest was driving up food prices. A better harvest last summer and autumn has reversed the rise in food prices while exports have boomed. 'The numbers are telling you this economy is poised for further momentum, and there has been no policy to restrain that,' said Liang Hong, an economist in the Hong Kong offices of Goldman Sachs. Some business executives in China, particularly those from companies selling to consumers, say their sales remain strong. 'The purchasing power of people is very high nowadays,' said Henry Zhang, general manager of the Shishi Hengyi Textile Product Trade Company, a maker of casual men's trousers in Fujian Province in southeastern China. 'People earn more and they keep buying clothes every day. Many are willing to pay more for fancy and quality clothes.' But other economists say that businesses are becoming much more cautious about making investments. This is reducing the demand for steel and other materials and making it likely that their production will have to fall soon. Annual growth in steel consumption has slowed sharply, while production has kept on rising steeply. Chinese steel makers have muscled foreign rivals out of their home market and begun exporting. But with imported steel now down to a small sliver of the market, specialists predict that it will be hard for Chinese steel makers to maintain growth. Mr. Banga, whose company ships large quantities of iron ore and coal to China, said that Chinese mills were selling steel as fast as they made it just two months ago, but now practically every mill had stockpiles available. China's volume of raw materials imports 'is coming down very fast,' he said, adding, 'It has come down drastically across the board.' Jonathan Anderson, an economist with UBS, said that Chinese industrial production had not slowed as much as demand, and predicted that production would slow at least temporarily before demand caught up again. Using a comparison from Road Runner cartoons, he warned, 'The coyote has run off the cliff, and he's hanging there.' It remains unclear how much the lull in domestic demand will affect the currency ruminations of Beijing policy makers. A more valuable yuan would make imports cheaper in China and Chinese goods more costly in foreign markets, a combination that would tend to slow growth. If the policy makers want another reason not to let the yuan rise in the currency markets, then slower growth at home could provide that reason. Less vigorous growth in the Chinese economy may also make the nation's central bank less likely to increase interest rates. 'It weakens the argument for a rate hike definitely,' said Ma Jun, an economist with Deutsche Bank.

Subject: When Richer Weds Poorer
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 09:53:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/19/national/class/MARRIAGE-FINAL.html?hp=&pagewanted=all When Richer Weds Poorer, Money Isn't the Only Difference By TAMAR LEWIN NORTHFIELD, Mass. - When Dan Croteau met Cate Woolner six years ago, he was selling cars at the Keene, N.H., Mitsubishi lot and she was pretending to be a customer, test driving a black Montero while she and her 11-year-old son, Jonah, waited for their car to be serviced. The test drive lasted an hour and a half. Jonah got to see how the vehicle performed in off-road mud puddles. And Mr. Croteau and Ms. Woolner hit it off so well that she later sent him a note, suggesting that if he was not involved with someone, not a Republican and not an alien life form, maybe they could meet for coffee. Mr. Croteau dithered about the propriety of dating a customer, but when he finally responded, they talked on the phone from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. They had a lot in common. Each had two failed marriages and two children. Both love dancing, motorcycles, Bob Dylan, bad puns, liberal politics and National Public Radio. But when they began dating, they found differences, too. The religious difference - he is Roman Catholic, she is Jewish - posed no problem. The real gap between them, both say, is more subtle: Mr. Croteau comes from the working class, and Ms. Woolner from money. Mr. Croteau, who will be 50 in June, grew up in Keene, an old mill town in southern New Hampshire. His father was a factory worker whose education ended at the eighth grade; his mother had some factory jobs, too. Mr. Croteau had a difficult childhood and quit school at 16. He then left home, joined the Navy and drifted through a long series of jobs without finding any real calling. He married his pregnant 19-year-old girlfriend and had two daughters, Lael and Maggie, by the time he was 24. 'I was raised in a family where my grandma lived next door, my uncles lived on the next road over, my dad's two brothers lived next to each other, and I pretty much played with my cousins,' he said. 'The whole concept of life was that you should try to get a good job in the factory. My mother tried to encourage me. She'd say, 'Dan's bright; ask him a question.' But if I'd said I wanted to go to college, it would have been like saying I wanted to grow gills and breathe underwater.' He always felt that the rich people in town, 'the ones with their names on the buildings,' as he put it, lived in another world. Ms. Woolner, 54, comes from that other world. The daughter of a doctor and a dancer, she grew up in a comfortable home in Hartsdale, N.Y., with the summer camps, vacations and college education that wealthy Westchester County families can take for granted. She was always uncomfortable with her money; when she came into a modest inheritance at 21, she ignored the monthly bank statements for several years, until she learned to channel her unease into philanthropy benefiting social causes. She was in her mid-30's and married to a psychotherapist when Isaac and Jonah were born. 'My mother's father had a Rolls-Royce and a butler and a second home in Florida,' Ms. Woolner said, 'and from as far back as I can remember, I was always aware that I had more than other people, and I was uncomfortable about it because it didn't feel fair. When I was little, what I fixated on with my girlfriends was how I had more pajamas than they did. So when I'd go to birthday sleepovers, I'd always take them a pair of pajamas as a present.' Marriages that cross class boundaries may not present as obvious a set of challenges as those that cross the lines of race or nationality. But in a quiet way, people who marry across class lines are also moving outside their comfort zones, into the uncharted territory of partners with a different level of wealth and education, and often, a different set of assumptions about things like manners, food, child-rearing, gift-giving and how to spend vacations. In cross-class marriages, one partner will usually have more money, more options and, almost inevitably, more power in the relationship. It is not possible to say how many cross-class marriages there are. But to the extent that education serves as a proxy for class, they seem to be declining. Even as more people marry across racial and religious lines, often to partners who match them closely in other respects, fewer are choosing partners with a different level of education. While most of those marriages used to involve men marrying women with less education, studies have found, lately that pattern has flipped, so that by 2000, the majority involved women, like Ms. Woolner, marrying men with less schooling - the combination most likely to end in divorce. 'It's definitely more complicated, given the cultural scripts we've all grown up with,' said Ms. Woolner, who has a master's degree in counseling and radiates a thoughtful sincerity. 'We've all been taught it's supposed to be the man who has the money and the status and the power.' Bias on Both Sides When he met Ms. Woolner, Mr. Croteau had recently stopped drinking and was looking to change his life. But when she told him, soon after they began dating, that she had money, it did not land as good news. 'I wished she had waited a little,' Mr. Croteau said. 'When she told me, my first thought was, uh oh, this is a complication. From that moment I had to begin questioning my motivations. You don't want to feel like a gold digger. You have to tell yourself, here's this person that I love, and here's this quality that comes with the package. Cate's very generous, and she thinks a lot about what's fair and works very hard to level things out, but she also has a lot of baggage around that quality. She has all kinds of choices I don't have. And she does the lion's share of the decision-making.' Before introducing Ms. Woolner to his family, Mr. Croteau warned them about her background. 'I said, 'Mom, I want you to know Cate and her family are rich,' ' he recalled. 'And she said, 'Well, don't hold that against her; she's probably very nice anyway.' I thought that was amazing.' There were biases on the other side too. Just last summer, Mr. Croteau said, when they were at Ms. Woolner's mother's house on Martha's Vineyard, his mother-in-law confessed to him that she had initially been embarrassed that he was a car salesman and worried that her daughter was taking him on as a kind of do-good project. Still, the relationship moved quickly. Mr. Croteau met Ms. Woolner in the fall of 1998 and moved into her comfortable home in Northfield the next spring, after meeting her condition that he sell his gun. Even before Mr. Croteau moved in, Ms. Woolner gave him money to buy a new car and pay off some debts. 'I wanted to give him the money,' she said. 'I hadn't sweated it. I told him that this was money that had just come to me for being born into one class, while he was born into another class.' And when he lost his job not long after, Ms. Woolner began paying him a monthly stipend - he sometimes refers to it as an allowance - that continued, at a smaller level, until last November, when she quit her longstanding job at a local antipoverty agency. She also agreed to pay for a $10,000 computer course that helped prepare him for his current job as a software analyst at the Cheshire Medical Center in Keene. From the beginning, the balance of power in the relationship was a sufficiently touchy issue that at Ms. Woolner's urging, a few months before their wedding in August 2001, they joined a series of workshops on cross-class relationships. 'I had abject terror at the idea of the group,' said Mr. Croteau, who is blunt and intellectually engaging. 'It's certainly an upper-class luxury to pay to tell someone your troubles, and with all the problems in the world, it felt a little strange to sit around talking about your relationship. But it was useful. It was a relief to hear people talk about the same kinds of issues we were facing, about who had power in the relationship and how they used it. I think we would have made it anyway, but we would have had a rockier time without the group.' It is still accepted truth within the household that Ms. Woolner's status has given her the upper hand in the marriage. At dinner one night, when her son Isaac said baldly, 'I always think of my mom as having the power in the relationship,' Mr. Croteau did not flinch. He is fully aware that in this relationship he is the one whose life has been most changed. Confusing Differences The Woolner-Croteau household is just up the hill from the groomed fields of Northfield Mount Hermon prep school - a constant local reminder to Mr. Croteau of just how differently his wife's sons and his daughters have been educated. Jonah is now a senior there. Isaac, who also attended the school, is now back at Lewis & Clark College in Oregon after taking a couple of semesters away to study in India and to attend massage school while working in a deli near home. By contrast, Mr. Croteau's adult daughters - who have never lived with the couple - made their way through the Keene public schools. 'I sometimes think Jonah and Isaac need a dose of reality, that a couple years in public school would have shown them something different,' Mr. Croteau said. 'On the other hand I sometimes wish I'd been able to give Maggie and Lael what they had. My kids didn't have the same kind of privilege and the same kind of schools. They didn't have teachers concerned about their tender growing egos. It was catch-as-catch-can for them, and that still shows in their personalities.' Mr. Croteau had another experience of Northfield Mount Hermon as well. He briefly had a job as its communications manager, but could not adjust to its culture. 'There were all these Ivy Leaguers,' he said. 'I didn't understand their nuances, and I didn't make a single friend there. In working-class life, people tell you things directly, they're not subtle. At N.M.H., I didn't get how they did things. When a vendor didn't meet the deadline, I called and said, 'Where's the job?' When he said, 'We bumped you, we'll have it next week,' I said, 'What do you mean, next week? We have a deadline, you can't do business like that.' It got back to my supervisor, who came and said, 'We don't yell at vendors.' The idea seemed to be that there weren't deadlines in that world, just guidelines.' Mr. Croteau says he is far more comfortable at the hospital. 'I deal mostly with nurses and other computer nerds and they come from the same kind of world I do, so we know how to talk to each other,' he said. But in dealing with Ms. Woolner's family, especially during the annual visits to Martha's Vineyard, Mr. Croteau said, he sometimes finds himself back in class bewilderment, feeling again that he does not get the nuances. 'They're incredibly gracious to me, very well bred and very nice,' he said, 'so much so that it's hard to tell whether it's sincere, whether they really like you.' Mr. Croteau still seems impressed by his wife's family, and their being among 'the ones with their names on the buildings.' It is he who shows a visitor the framed print of the old Woolner Distillery in Peoria, Ill., and, describing the pictures on the wall, mentions that this in-law went to Yale, and that one knew Gerald Ford. Family Divisions Mr. Croteau and Ms Woolner are not the only ones aware of the class divide within the family; so are the two sets of children. Money is continually tight for Lael Croteau, 27, who is in graduate school in educational administration at the University of Vermont, and Maggie, 25, who is working three jobs while in her second year of law school at American University. At restaurants, they ask to have the leftovers wrapped to take home. Neither could imagine taking a semester off to try out massage school, as Isaac did. They are careful about their manners, their plans, their clothes. 'Who's got money, who doesn't, it's always going on in my head,' Maggie said. 'So I put on the armor. I have the bag. I have the shirt. I know people can't tell my background by looking.' The Croteau daughters are the only ones among 12 first cousins who made it to college. Most of the others married and had babies right after high school. 'They see us as different, and sometimes that can hurt,' Maggie said. The daughters walk a fine line. They are deeply attached to their mother, who did most of their rearing, but they are also attracted to the Woolner world and its possibilities. Through holidays and Vineyard vacations, they have come to feel close not only to their stepbrothers, but also to Ms. Woolner's sisters' children, whose pictures are on display in Lael's house in Vermont. And they see, up close, just how different their upbringing was. 'Jonah and Isaac don't have to worry about how they dress, or whether they'll have the money to finish college, or anything,' Lael said. 'That's a real luxury. And when one of the little kids asks, 'Why do people sneeze?' their mom will say, 'I don't know; that's a great question. Let's go to the museum, and check it out.' My mom is very smart and certainly engages us on many levels, but when we asked a difficult question, she'd say, 'Because I said so.' ' The daughters' lives have been changed not only by Ms. Woolner's warm, stable presence, but also by her gifts of money for snow tires or books, the family vacations she pays for and her connections. One of Ms. Woolner's cousins, a Washington lawyer, employs Maggie both at her office and as a housesitter. For Ms. Woolner's sons, Mr. Croteau's arrival did not make nearly as much difference. They are mostly oblivious of the extended Croteau family, and have barely met the Croteau cousins, who are close to their age and live nearby but lead quite different lives. Indeed, in early February, while Ms. Woolner's Isaac was re-adjusting to college life, Mr. Croteau's nephew, another 20-year-old Isaac who had enlisted in the Marines right after high school, was shot in the face in Falluja, Iraq, and shipped to Bethesda Medical Center in Maryland. Isaac and Jonah are easygoing young men, neither of whom has any clear idea what he wants to do in life. 'For a while I've been trying to find my passion,' Jonah said. 'But I haven't been passionately trying to find my passion.' Isaac fantasizes about opening a brewery-cum-performance-space, traveling through South America or operating a sunset massage cruise in the Caribbean. He knows he is on such solid ground that he can afford fantasy. 'I have the most amazing safety net a person could have,' he said, 'incredible, loving, involved and wealthy parents.' On the rare occasions when they are all together, the daughters get on easily with the sons, though there are occasional tensions. Maggie would love to have a summer internship with a human rights group, but she needs paid work and when she graduates, with more than $100,000 of debt, she will need a law firm job, not one with a nonprofit. So when Isaac one day teased her as being a sellout, she reminded him that it was a lot easier to live your ideals when you did not need to make money to pay for them. And there are moments when the inequalities within the family are painfully obvious. 'I do feel the awkwardness of helping Isaac buy a car, when I'm not helping them buy a car,' Ms. Woolner said of the daughters. 'We've talked about that. But I also have to be aware of overstepping. Their mother's house burned down, which was awful for them and for her and I really wanted to help. I took out my checkbook and I didn't know what was appropriate. In the end I wrote a $1,500 check. Emily Post doesn't deal with these situations.' She and Mr. Croteau remain conscious of the class differences between them, and the ways in which their lives have been shaped by different experiences. On one visit to New York City, where Ms. Woolner's mother lives in the winter, Ms. Woolner lost her debit card and felt anxious about being disconnected, even briefly, from her money. For Mr. Croteau, it was a strange moment. 'She had real discomfort, even though we were around the corner from her mother, and she had enough money to do anything we were likely to do, assuming she wasn't planning to buy a car or a diamond all of a sudden,' he said. 'So I didn't understand the problem. I know how to walk around without a safety net. I've done it all my life.' Both he and his wife express pride that their marriage has withstood its particular problems and stresses. 'I think we're always both amazed that we're working it out,' Ms. Woolner said. But almost from the beginning they agreed on an approach to their relationship, a motto now engraved inside their wedding rings: 'Press on regardless.'

Subject: Stocks and Bonds
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, May 19, 2005 at 07:18:00 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Well, we are almost back to even for the stock market for the year to date. Long term bonds are fairly strong once again, with interest rates having actually fallen. The dollar is strong against the Euro and Yen. Several sectors from utilities to health care to energy are strong. Large caps are stronger than small caps, with mid caps strongest, and value is slightly stronger than growth. REITs are mildly positive again. A surprising year so far, with bonds seemingly controlling the market.

Subject: Alan Greenspan
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 18:57:52 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There seems to be a wish in the Administration for Alan Greenspan to remain at the Fed for some time longer. The guess is that Alan Greenspan is wanted at the Federal Reserve as long as possible. There is a flexible sense of monetary policy needs that is quite valuable, and enough support for Administration policy to make Greenspan a perfect Fed Chair. Will Ben Bernanke prefer to stay at the Fed if Greenspan stays on?

Subject: Thinking About Long Term Treasuries
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 18:23:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is no question but that Asian central banks along with Brazil and South Africa and several oil producers buy enough American debt that the perception is there is a base for the debt. Also, there is relatively little supply of 10 year Treasuries. There may be 'carry trade' buying, so short term money is borrowed in Japan and used to buy the 10 year Treasury. But, the perception of little risk of inflation has to be an important element. Would I buy a 10 year Treasury? Nope.

Subject: Vanguard Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 18:07:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship5.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName Vanguard Returns 12/31/04 to 5/18/05 S&P Index is -1.5 Large Cap Growth Index is -2.2 Large Cap Value Index is -0.2 Mid Cap Index is -0.6 Small Cap Index is -4.0 Small Cap Value Index is -3.1 Europe Index is -1.4 Pacific Index is -5.7 Energy is 8.2 Health Care is 5.4 REIT Index is 1.3 High Yield Corporate Bond Fund is -3.0 Long Term Corporate Bond Fund is 4.5

Subject: Sector Stock Indexes
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 19:27:27 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsVIPERByName Sector Indexes 12/31/04 - 5/18/05 Energy 7.2 Financials -3.7 Health Care 4.6 Info Tech -6.1 Materials -5.8 REITs 1.3 Telecoms -6.7 Utilities 6.7

Subject: America and China
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 15:09:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Allow me to toughen my currency stance. China must increase the value of the Yuan by 10% to 20% to ease the trade pressures we are experiencing. There really is no other way to ease the competitive pressure on our producers, but no one outside of the Chinese leadership can tell if there is consideration of such a change in policy.

Subject: Refining Oil
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 12:55:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/18/business/18valero.html?pagewanted=all A Fast-Growing Independent Strikes Gold in Oil Refining By JAD MOUAWAD SAN ANTONIO - It is impossible not to notice the eight-foot bear in William E. Greehey's office. The story of how the stuffed grizzly ended up here says as much about Mr. Greehey's hunting trip in British Columbia in 1982 as it does about his attitude as chief executive of Valero Energy: aggressive, risk-prone and endowed with self-confidence - or, his critics say, an oversize ego. Those are the same traits that helped him turn Valero from an obscure gas pipeline business into the nation's top independent oil refiner. Valero, based in San Antonio, is leading a pack of refiners that are staking their future on the notion that tight refining capacity, growing demand for gasoline and high profit margins will last. On the other side of the argument are the major oil companies, which have been selling their refineries in the belief that profits and margins may soon reach a peak in a notably volatile and cyclical business. The debate is being played out as retail gasoline prices are near the highest level in recent years. 'Anybody who has been in this business for a long time knows it has been lousy and they haven't made as much money as in exploration,' said Malcolm M. Turner, president of Turner, Mason & Company, an industry consultant in Dallas. 'But Greehey has been a bull for five years on refining, and now he's turned into a raging bull.' Last month, Mr. Greehey - widely known as Bill - took his biggest gamble yet when he announced a $6.9 billion offer for Premcor, a smaller Connecticut-based rival, that would propel his company ahead of Exxon Mobil as the top refiner in the United States. For more than two decades, oil companies in the United States have been reluctant to pour money into refining, where they have had to contend with a surplus of capacity, relatively low profits and rising costs for producing cleaner fuels. Domestic refining capacity shrank about 10 percent from 1981 through 2004 even as demand soared 45 percent. But Valero has bucked the industry trend. The planned acquisition of Premcor is the latest in a series of leaps that have transformed the company since it sold its natural gas operation in 1997. Since then, it has spent $8 billion in acquisitions, growing from a single refinery in Corpus Christi, Tex., into a Fortune 500 company with plants in the United States, Canada and Aruba and control of 15 percent of America's refining capacity. Premcor would add 4 refineries to Valero's 15, lifting capacity by one-quarter, to 3.3 million barrels a day, or about 20 percent of domestic capacity. The purchase would also increase Valero's ability to process the more viscous, but cheaper, oil from South America and the Middle East. 'We're going through a perfect storm in refining,' Mr. Greehey said. 'But everybody continues to have such a negative perception of refining. To me, it's just unbelievable because the fundamentals have changed.' Not everyone sees the situation that way. The major oil companies - which have exploration and production as well as refining businesses - have been much more cautious about the long-term prospects for refining. Early this year, for example, the Royal Dutch/Shell Group sold a refinery in California. In February, Edward G. Galante, Exxon Mobil's senior vice president for refining, questioned that sector's prospects when he told a gathering of oil executives in Houston: 'Some say we have entered a 'golden age of refining.' Of those, I ask, how long is an age? And remember, those of us with upstream businesses tend to think in geological terms.' He added, 'With all due respect to the incurably upbeat among us, I don't know how long today's strong margins will persist.' At the moment, profit margins are at their highest. Last year, Valero's revenue rose to nearly $55 billion, up 44 percent from the previous year, with net income tripling to $1.8 billion - more than Exxon Mobil earned from its refining business in the United States. Still, Exxon remains a far bigger refiner than Valero when considering its plants around the world. Exxon Mobil last year had revenue of $298 billion and net profit of $25 billion. Valero's share price is up 38.5 percent since the beginning of the year, making it the best performer in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index and giving the company a market value of more than $16 billion. That compares with a 5 percent increase in Exxon Mobil shares, and a 3.1 percent decline in the S.& P. 500 index. Valero benefits from its refineries' ability to convert dirty, heavy oil that has high sulfur content into lighter, cleaner and more profitable gasoline. The company has invested heavily in such conversion capacity because, it says, most of the world's remaining oil reserves, like those in Saudi Arabia, are medium to heavy grades while lighter oil, like that from the North Sea, is declining. Maya crude from Mexico, for example, sells for $16 to $18 a barrel less than West Texas intermediate, the light, sweet grade that is used as a benchmark on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Most of Valero's refining capacity can process the heavier grades, which are on average $1.50 a barrel more expensive to refine, the company said. At the same time, the refiner's margin, or the difference between crude oil and gasoline prices, is at its highest in decades. This year, it is $11 a barrel on the East Coast, twice the five-year historic average, according to John S. Herold Inc., an oil consultant. This means that Valero can both buy cheaper oil than some of its rivals and sell gasoline at high prices. Whether those advantages can continue may determine whether Valero can complete the Premcor acquisition smoothly and whether the company can continue to expand, either in the United States or in Europe. Hours after the Premcor announcement was made on April 25, Standard & Poor's downgraded Valero's credit by one rung to BBB-, the lowest investment grade. The ratings agency also placed Valero on negative watch, meaning that its bonds might be lowered further to junk status. That would increase Valero's financing costs and the price it pays for Premcor. John Thieroff, a credit analyst at S.& P. in New York, pointed to Valero's growing debt. The company expects to issue $1.4 billion in new debt for the acquisition, which comes on top of existing debt of $4.3 billion and the $1.8 billion it is assuming from Premcor. 'A lot of people accept the company's premise that wider margins are here to stay,' Mr. Thieroff said. 'We can't accept these assumptions blindly. Refining is a very volatile industry. What happens if the economy hits a soft patch? We don't look at how good can the upside be, but rather how bad can the downside be.' Few such doubts inhibit Mr. Greehey, a 68-year-old native of Fort Dodge, Iowa, who bears a resemblance to Karl Malden in 'The Streets of San Francisco' and enjoys standing behind the grill at company barbecues. 'We took advantage of getting in at the bottom and riding the crest,' he said. 'And I don't think we're there yet. It's going to get better next year. We're going to grow our business very aggressively.' Valero was a late starter in the refining business. Mr. Greehey joined it in 1974 as a court-appointed chief executive after the company, then known as LoVaca Gathering, stopped supplying natural gas to customers in Texas when energy prices spiked and it could no longer honor its contracts. After six years of litigation and a $1.6 billion settlement, the business was spun off from its parent, the Coastal States Gas Corporation, and established as a pipeline operator. Coastal States, founded by Oscar S. Wyatt Jr., a Texas oilman and entrepreneur, has recently been named in Iraqi documents as paying surcharges for oil to Saddam Hussein's government. The company has denied the accusations. Seeking to set some distance with the company's difficult past, Mr. Greehey, who majored in accounting at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, moved his new headquarters here from Houston and renamed the business Valero after the 18th-century San Antonio de Valero Franciscan mission, the original site of the Alamo. In 1997, the company decided to focus solely on refining and sold most of its other businesses. Starting from the one refinery in Corpus Christi, it snapped up underperforming plants around the nation and fit them to process heavy-grade oil. 'I started working for Exxon and I used to think of Exxon as a refining company,' Mr. Greehey said. 'I never thought anyone would ever be bigger than Exxon.' Then, returning to the bear-hunting experience, he said, 'If my gun had jammed, the bear would have eaten me up. But I think I could have outrun him.'

Subject: Low Interest Cushion the Economy
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 12:26:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The reason beyond all else for low long term bond yields is the perception of little prospect of long term inflation. I agree with the assessment, and have agreed for several years. These low rates cushion the stock markets, cushion real estate, and will keep the economy growing nicely.

Subject: Condo Fever and Apartments
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 10:38:12 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/18/business/18condo.html?pagewanted=all Landlords Cashing Out as Condo Fever Spreads By TERRY PRISTIN Apartment building owners faced with dwindling returns are selling their properties to developers willing to pay ever larger premiums so that they can convert rental units into condominiums. The trend is driven by low mortgage interest rates that have encouraged renters to become homeowners, leaving landlords in many areas with falling occupancy rates and forcing them to lower rents and make other concessions to keep their buildings full. Instead, many landlords are deciding to sell, and in many cities, condo conversion sales have been increasing at an explosive rate. But some real estate specialists say the condo conversion market has become so overheated, especially in places like South Florida and Las Vegas, that many developers could find themselves unable to sell their condo units -and possibly in default - if interest rates rise and the pool of potential buyers dwindles. 'Condo converters are paying above market rates, above what the rental value of the building would be,' said Robert M. White Jr., the president of Real Capital Analytics, a New York research firm. If all the units do not sell, leaving the building with an undesirable mixture of tenants and condo owners, he added, 'the lenders will have a tough time getting their money back' and developers will have 'the headaches of having to manage renters and owners both.' Sales of apartment buildings to condo converters reached a record $13.3 billion last year, up from $3 billion in 2003, according to Real Capital Analytics, which tracks sales of at least $5 million. Since January 2004, 103,000 apartments have been sold to converters, the firm said. In metropolitan Washington, buildings intended for conversion sold for an average of 88 percent more than other apartment buildings, according to the research division of Marcus & Millichap, a national real estate investment brokerage company. In Northern New Jersey, condo converters paid about four times as much as buyers of buildings that will remain as rentals. In Northern Virginia, as in South Florida, there is little difference between what converters are paying for apartments and the market price for a condo, leaving little room for profit, Mr. White said. Many condo units are sold to investors looking for an alternative to the stock market. Real estate specialists estimate that speculators and other investors account for as much as 60 percent of condo sales in Florida, and one-quarter or more of the sales in places like Washington and Chicago. 'Investors are buying blocks of units, four or five at a time,' said John R. Jaeger, a vice president at Appraisal Research Counselors, which focuses on Chicago's housing market. 'We see that quite a bit.' He said that typically only 15 percent of the tenants in an apartment building wind up buying their units. Developers like the Related Group of Florida are taking steps to curb speculation by, for example, requiring a 20 percent deposit so that the investor will not be likely to walk away from his or her condo unit. 'No one can buy more than two units, and we carefully screen and cross-check with our other projects,' said Joyce M. Bronson, a senior vice president. Sometimes an apartment building changes hands even before or soon after construction is completed. Last month, Vornado Realty Trust, the New York-based real estate investment trust, agreed to sell a new 452-unit apartment building at 400 North LaSalle in downtown Chicago to a venerable local developer, Draper & Kramer, for $126 million, or about $278,000 a unit. Vornado said its gain would be $30 million. Jim Freko, a Draper & Kramer vice president, said his company planned to install hardwood floors but otherwise does not need to spend much to convert the building, which was completed last year. An average 900-square-foot unit will be priced at about $360,000, he said. These days, he said, condo converters have come to expect lower returns than they have been used to. 'You see a lot more converters stepping up to the plate, whether experienced or new, and they are getting more aggressive and pushing up the prices you need to pay,' he said. But, he said, as long as interest rates remain low, the conversion trend is likely to continue. Fueling the spurt in condo conversions is the widespread availability of financing, not just from banks but also from other lenders willing to make up the difference between the bank loan and the actual cost of purchase and construction. Competition among lenders is so feverish that some developers can get away with putting very little of their own money at risk, mortgage brokers say. 'There are promoters putting deals together who are taking out their own equity and replacing it with other people's equity so that they are getting a percentage of the transaction with no money in it,' said Robert Kaplan, a senior managing director for South Florida for Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, who helps arrange financing for such deals. Until now, Wall Street investment firms have issued their own condo conversion loans but have not sold them on the secondary market as mortgage-backed securities. But in what real estate specialists said was another sign of the expanding availability of debt financing for this type of property, Credit Suisse First Boston has just finished marketing a bond to institutional investors that was backed by $1.5 billion worth of mortgages for apartment buildings and other properties being transformed into condominiums. By taking many apartments off the market, condo conversions have actually helped raise apartment occupancy in some areas, said Lloyd Lynford, the president of Reis Inc., a New York research firm. The average vacancy rate in the top 64 metropolitan markets at the end of March was 6.6 percent, down from 7.1 percent the previous March. The average in the 1990's was 4.9 percent. Apartment companies, whose performance is correlated to job growth as well as interest rates, are the weakest of the REIT sectors. This has led Equity Residential Properties Trust, the nation's leading apartment landlord, and Post Properties, another apartment REIT, to enter the conversion business themselves. The success of these efforts has prompted other apartment REIT's to consider following suit, said Craig Leupold, an analyst for Green Street Advisors, a research company in Newport Beach, Calif. But many converters coming into the market are inexperienced developers in search of quick profits, said Kenneth T. Rosen, a real estate professor at the University of California, Berkeley. 'A lot of untested people are getting into this,' Mr. Rosen said. 'It's the place where people think they can make fast money today. That's the real problem.'

Subject: Beijing Brushes Off U.S. Warning
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 10:33:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/18/international/asia/18cnd-china.html?pagewanted=all Beijing Brushes Off U.S. Warning on Currency By EDMUND L. ANDREWS WASHINGTON - The Bush administration warned China on Tuesday that its currency policies were distorting world trade, and it brandished the threat of retaliation against the country's exports if Chinese leaders did not change course in the next year. In language far harsher than it has used before, the Treasury Department declared that China's fixed exchange rate between its currency, the yuan, and the dollar posed a risk to its economy and the economies of much of the rest of the world. Today, Chinese officials brushed off the criticisms, which also came from the European Union, suggesting they were unreasonable and counterproductive. Wei Benhua, deputy director of the agency that manages Chinese currency reserves, said Washington should 'put its own house in order before blaming others' for its trade deficits, Bloomberg News reported from Singapore, where Mr. Wei is attending a conference. Commerce Minister Bo Xilai said a threat by the European Union to impose restrictions on Chinese-made textiles was a 'double standard,' since the United States and Europe espoused free trade. The Bush administration stopped short of accusing China of outright currency manipulation, a move demanded by American manufacturers who complain that the Chinese have artificially undervalued their currency to make exports cheaper in the United States. But the new language marked a change in relations, which the administration has until now handled with painstaking delicacy. 'Current Chinese policies,' the Treasury Department said in a report to Congress on Tuesday, 'are highly distortionary and pose a risk to China's economy, its trading partners and global economic growth.' Coming closer than before to setting a deadline, the Treasury report warned that China's policy would meet its definition for currency manipulation unless Beijing officials make a 'substantial alteration.' The administration's combative new stance was not enough to satisfy many members of Congress from both parties, who want to soon threaten China with steep tariffs on its exports if it fails to allow the yuan to rise significantly from a narrow band around 8.28 to the dollar. A stronger yuan would tend to make Chinese goods more expensive in foreign markets, diminishing the country's competitive advantage. Still, economists said even that was unlikely to make a dent quickly in the huge trade imbalance with the United States. The studied shift in the administration's stance reflected delicate issues that confront American officials, who want China to change its currency practices but are even more worried about pressure from Congress to restrict trade. In less than a decade, China has emerged as a manufacturing powerhouse and an indispensable source of low-price goods - toys, furniture and electronics, among others. The expiration on Jan. 1 of global textile quotas has flooded world markets with Chinese apparel. American manufacturers have been caught on both sides of this transformation in trade: often overwhelmed by Chinese competition yet benefiting as buyers of Chinese goods and investors in factories. Administration officials are also juggling political concerns. As a great power of Asia, China is crucial to Washington's efforts to restrain North Korean nuclear ambitions. The Chinese Embassy in Washington had no immediate comment. But even before the administration issued its report, Chinese leaders said on Monday that currency policy was a 'sovereign' matter and that they would not be pushed into decisions by other governments. The Treasury warning implicitly gave the Chinese until October, when the administration is required to make its next report to Congress on foreign currency practices. If it declares that a country is manipulating its currency to gain competitive advantage, it is required to begin negotiations over exchange rates that could lead to retaliation. The United States trade deficit with China reached $124.9 billion last year, larger than that with any other country or with the entire European Union. China has also become one of America's biggest foreign creditors, holding more than $600 billion in Treasury securities and other dollar-denominated instruments as it seeks to keep its currency from rising in line with the trade surpluses. The Treasury report criticized China's policy as dangerous to itself, its Asian neighbors and global growth. 'China's 10-year-long pegged currency may have contributed to stability in the past,' said Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, 'but that is no longer the case today as China has grown to be a more significant participant in global trade and financial flows.' The policy, he said, threatened the Chinese economy by sowing the seeds of inflation, distorting capital flows and preventing the nation's central bank from conducting normal monetary policy. Mr. Snow said that China must devise 'substantial' changes in its currency practices to make them more 'flexible.' He did not demand that Beijing move directly to a system of floating exchange rates, like those used by the United States and most of Europe. Most analysts say China is unlikely to do much more than let its currency appreciate by a limited amount, with some estimating an increase as high as 10 percent. But administration officials said Beijing would have to make changes of 'a manner and magnitude that is sufficiently reflective of underlying market conditions.' The direct American language marked at least a partial abandonment of the Bush administration's two-year attempt to cajole China, using 'financial diplomacy.' China has pegged the yuan at a fixed rate to the dollar since 1994, when it was beginning to emerge as a force in global trade. Left to free-market forces, specialists say that the value of the yuan would have climbed substantially against the dollar. But China and other Asian nations have kept the value constant by buying hundreds of billions of dollars in Treasury securities. The Chinese central bank bought more than $250 billion in dollar-denominated securities over the last year and now holds more than $600 billion, according to recent estimates. The Treasury's report Tuesday did not satisfy critics in Washington. 'The Bush administration is in serious denial with its claim today that China is not manipulating its currency,' said Representative Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House subcommittee on trade. 'In denying currency manipulation by the Chinese, the administration has turned a blind eye to American workers and businesses that are being seriously hurt by China's policies.' The National Association of Manufacturers, which has lobbied for tougher action for two years, said that it was 'disappointed' and that Mr. Snow's warning shot was already 'long overdue.' But Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York and an administration critic, said the tougher language was an improvement. 'They stepped right up to the door, but they didn't knock,' Mr. Schumer said. 'The good news now is that the federal government - the executive branch and the legislative branch - agree that what the Chinese government is doing is wrong. But we still await action, and that's the only thing that will satisfy Congress.' Mr. Schumer and Senator Lindsey O. Graham, Republican of South Carolina, stunned administration officials last month by winning bipartisan Senate support for a measure that would threaten China with tariffs up to 27.5 percent if it failed to change its currency policies. The Senate voted 67 to 33 against killing an amendment that would have attached the provision to a spending bill. Mr. Schumer withdrew the amendment, but Senate Republican s have agreed to allow a vote on the measure before the end of July. Administration officials oppose such penalties for China but also hope the Chinese recognize the risk of provoking political retaliation in Congress if they delay action much longer. 'There are very, very strong protectionist sentiments growing in the United States,' a senior official said, 'and they are directly against China. China could help that situation significantly by moving toward flexible exchange rates.'

Subject: Notice the Bond Market
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 10:05:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Wow. The long term Treasury yield is at 4.05% this morning. This bond market is exceptional. There has really been no comparable market, for remember the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates 8 times, yet long term bonds fall in yield.

Subject: Bond Market Adjustment
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 07:21:18 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The bond market adjustment to derivatives and high yield debt is unfolding, but unfolding smoothly. We may hope this set aside much risk in the derivative bond market. This does not effect high investment grade bonds other than to help the prices.

Subject: Impending heavyweight showdown
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 22:42:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The US (the heavyweight spender) and China (the heavyweight producer) are closing on an epic showdown. The US administration was able to hold off a vote on the tariff legislation being threatened in the senate until July, by agreeing to take a stronger stand on the Chinese currency pegging issue. Treasury secretary Snow issued vague threats. The Chinese reacted angrily, insisting they would not yield to pressure. It should be pretty obvious, now, that the senate will end up going ahead with their legislation (27-28% across-the-board tariffs on all Chinese goods unless some very influential economists can pump some sanity into them) and it will likely pass. So it will come down to whether or not the Bush administration will veto and whether there are enough votes to override the veto if it is utilized. If this legislation finds its way into deployment and neither side blinks, then assured mutual economic destruction will ensue. China will clearly retaliate with everything at its disposal and it has a lot in its economic arsenal. These kinds of showdowns have a way of escalating with egos taking over and anger building on both sides. This one could be one for the history books - or it might defuse itself with a lot of posturing and little real action (let's hope so). But if this battle, which will likely come to a head by this late Summer/Fall, does not somehow diffuse itself, it will have giant implications for all of the world's economies. Of all the ways for Bretton Woods II to fall apart, perhaps this is the most likely way it will happen.

Subject: Re: Impending heavyweight showdown
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 05:48:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is a danger of a trade conflict, but I believe there will be compromise. We need China and China needs us. I am worried, but think there will be compromise. China is the causing economic problems for us, nor are we causing China economic problems.

Subject: Common sense vs ego
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 09:07:39 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Terri. So now that China says it won't unpeg their currency in the near term and won't bow to pressure to do so, you think the tariff legislation will not be brought up for a vote in July when it is now scheduled? Has China called our bluff and this coalition of senators will now turn tail? If this legislation does come before Congress, will a majority vote for or against? What will happen to the political prospects of legislators who vote against these tariffs? Does the public understand the consequences of 27-28% across-the-board tariffs on Chinese goods? Would the Chinese fold under the weight of the tariffs or retaliate? If the Chinese retaliate will we fold under their retaliation? Will common sense triumph over egos?

Subject: Re: Common sense vs ego
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 09:56:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
China must compromise enough that the Administration can try to block the tariff bill in the Senate or the House. My hope is that China will either increase the value of the Yuan by 5% to 15%, or use a selected export tax to ease the growth of exports. This is a hope only. There is a growing anger in the country at China, and though I do not believe the anger at all justified there is the political reality. Also, the American tariff bill will have considerable business opposition which will help to temper the legislation if the push on passage continues.

Subject: Hope you are right Terri
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 14:48:18 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:

Subject: Re: Hope you are right Terri
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 15:13:31 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The more I read, the more I wonder whether I am being arrogant in thinking a compromise will be so easily reached. But, my sense of the Chinese leadership shows them more flexible than many assume. The change must come from China to avoid trade conflicts.

Subject: Dispute Tears at Mumbai: India
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 16:10:07 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/17/international/asia/17mumbai.html?8hpib=&pagewanted=all Dispute Tears at Mumbai: House the Rich, or the Poor? By SOMINI SENGUPTA MUMBAI, India - In the belly of this island city, the textile mills are overrun by weeds and their chimneys point at the sky like so many sooty elephant snouts. A glassy new high-rise glistens incongruously nearby. A construction crane peers over a giant crater where a mill has been demolished to make way for four luxury apartment towers. For over a century this neighborhood, known as the Mill Lands, drew migrants from the countryside, fostered a politically powerful trade union movement and turned what was once a cluster of fishing villages into India's buzzing commercial capital. Today the mills are dead, the lots on which they stand are among the few patches of property available in a bursting city, and the debate over what to do with the land goes to the heart of what kind of city Mumbai expects to become. City officials, citizens groups and, lately, the courts are fiercely wrangling over questions like how much land will be set aside for parks and affordable housing, what will happen to the mill workers, who are central to Mumbai's creation myth, and whether developers should be allowed to turn the old factories into nightclubs and luxury apartments. What is at stake is the future of the city's past. Already, a 29-story luxury hotel has sprung up in the Mill Lands, as well as several new office blocks and an exclusive shopping mall. Environmental groups have gone to court in an effort to set aside a chunk of the remaining 600 acres for public use. In April, a Mumbai court put a temporary halt on development. [In a reversal in early May, the Indian Supreme Court gave its blessings for construction to continue, initially on seven large parcels.] The wrangling comes at a time when Mumbai, or Bombay, as the name was spelled for centuries, a city that is as alluring as it is frustrating to the roughly 14 million residents, is engaged in a larger debate about identity. Will it remain a magnet for strivers from the countryside? Will it be able to draw foreign investment? Will it stand out as India's global city? 'Bombay is a city of the past,' declared Narendra Nayar, an industrialist and the chairman of a business lobby called Bombay First. 'It must be a city of the future.' Mr. Nayar's group is in large part responsible for setting off the spat over Mumbai's future. Armed with a report prepared by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, it called over a year ago for a radical $40 billion makeover of the city: clearing slums, and building a new subway, public toilets and an airport tarmac without shanties on the margins. Titled Vision Mumbai, the report dangled the prospect of transforming the city into a Shanghai on the Arabian Sea. The dispute that Vision Mumbai unleashed served to demonstrate amply why Mumbai is not Shanghai now, and won't be anytime soon. 'Now, you can't straightaway say we want a world-class city and we don't want anything ugly,' said Neera Adarkar, an architect and a passionate foe of Bombay First's notion of the city. 'Just because you don't want to see them, they're not going to suddenly disappear.' The government's efforts to demolish slums earlier this year caused such a ruckus that it stopped after two months, and prompted the state's chief minister to be summoned to New Delhi for a talking-to. (The Congress Party-led coalition that governs India, after all, owes its victory largely to the poor.) Citizens groups have gone to court in an effort to save the Mill Lands for public space. Weekend tours of demolished slums have been organized to show solidarity with the displaced. Freedom-of-information requests have been filed to reveal which properties are actually publicly owned. Citizens have quarreled endlessly over Vision Mumbai. 'I hate that word,' complained Charles Correa, Mumbai's most acclaimed architect and urban planner. 'There's very little vision. No one really knows. They're more like hallucinations.' Vision or hallucination, the charged debate points as much to the city's vitality as to its desperation. More than half its citizens live in slums. Railroad tracks serve as toilets because there are none for those who do not have proper homes. The sardine-can nature of living means the rich simply cannot ignore the poor, as they can in many other cities. To commute every morning from the fancy northern suburbs is to drive past thousands of shanty dwellers, brushing their teeth in the streets. 'Bombay is where India meets the world,' declared Gerson D'Cunha, a retired advertising executive who founded an influential citizens lobby called Agni Mumbai. 'That's what has made people say, enough is enough, we've got to do something.' The paucity of land in Mumbai - what Mr. D'Cunha calls 'a famine for land' - makes the fate of the Mill Lands a highly charged debate. From his milk stand across the street, a former mill worker named Ganpath Shankar Gorgaonkar, 65, threw a rueful look at the up-market High Street Phoenix mall, where the famed Phoenix Mills once stood. In the fading light, the silhouettes of construction workers could be seen erecting another high-rise tower. 'When I see this, I feel very sad,' he said. 'No middle-class people can stay here.' In the back room behind his shop, his son, Sunil, a commercial photographer, edited digital photos on his desktop computer. Never, he said, had he considered following his father into the mills. Occasionally, he hung out with friends at the Barista Cafe inside the mall. He understood, nonetheless, why men like his father felt out of place here: 'He's from the old times.' He understood, too, he said, how times had changed for the working men of Mumbai. In his father's day, a mill worker could feed his entire family. Today, he said, entire families work to feed themselves. The textile factories flourished for 150 years before they were finally killed by industrial strikes in the 1980's. Over the next two decades, the mill owners converted their properties into lucrative ventures and managed, in 2001, to tweak an older municipal law that required them to set aside a third of the land for public use. In the end, the law stipulated that only a small fraction be set aside. [The latest Supreme Court ruling has given mill owners and developers a shot in the arm. 'It is a wonderful judgment,' said Niranjan Hiranandani, one of India's largest developers. 'This will add a lot of area for development, which is very much needed in Mumbai.'] Of the nearly 60 mills that once operated here, more than a dozen have been converted into office towers, shops and apartments. About 40 are left. For the city's developers, it is like manna from a real estate heaven. For urban planners, it is a bounty with which to resuscitate the cramped city center. For those who live there, it is a scary prospect of change. 'There's a great deal of money to be made, and everybody is struggling with their greasy fingers,' Mr. D'Cunha said. 'The question is, which political view will prevail?'

Subject: Bond Positions are Stabilizing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 12:34:50 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We may well be seeing a quiet unwinding of derivative and high yield positions in the corporate bond market. I expect so, and if so, this will further stabilize the bond market. Speculators seem to be sshifting from risk instruments to Treasuries. Spreads on interest rate are growing between lower rate corporate and Treasury bonds. The long term Treasury is at 4.1%, astonishing.

Subject: Credit Risk Interest Rate Spreads
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 11:56:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Since Ford and General Motor were given lower credit rating, the high yield bond market has weakened and the Treasury market has strengthened. The high yield market, I notice again, continues to worsen. Interest rate spreads between investment-grade and high yield bonds have significantly widened since the year began.

Subject: Social Security in France?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 10:42:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/17/international/europe/17france.html French Lose a Holiday, but Many, Angry, Take One Anyway By ELAINE SCIOLINO PARIS - A well-meaning government initiative to sacrifice a paid holiday to raise money for the country's elderly threw France into confusion on Monday as employers and workers, government officials and teachers decided on their own whether to obey the call to work. Half the country, it seemed, stayed home, ignoring the first 'day of solidarity' on the traditional holiday here that has been observed the day after Pentecost Sunday, the Christian feast commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles on the 50th day after the Resurrection of Christ. France's main unions urged their workers to strike. Although almost all post offices were open, 35 percent of their employees were on strike. Many town halls throughout the country were closed. In Bordeaux, thousands of people marched behind a banner that declared, 'No to free work.' Dozens of cities and towns, including Lille, Strasbourg and Bordeaux, were without most public transportation; the Paris Métro, by contrast, ran on schedule. Schools operated according to the whimsy of their principals and teachers. The country's main federation of parents urged keeping children home, and the teachers' union reported that up to 90 percent of students from the ages of 11 to 18 did stay home. The Paris airports reported some cancellations and delays of flights because of striking air traffic controllers. France's national railway company, SNCF, ran 20 percent more trains than the usual number to help compensate for local transportation disruptions and to transport those who took a three-day weekend. But the railway is treating the day as a holiday for its employees, requiring its workers to make up the time by working 1 minute 52 seconds more each workday. Bernard Thibault, leader of the Communist-backed labor federation, the CGT, told France Info radio that the day after Pentecost Sunday should be considered not a 'day of solidarity' but a 'day of mobilization and protests,' calling on the government to find a more equitable way to care for the country's elderly. The French Confederation of Christian Workers called the day of solidarity 'forced labor.' Many officials and employers were flummoxed over whether to consider Monday a holiday, since many public employees were required to work, but the private sector and local administrations are allowed to choose any holiday of the year as the extra workday. Union officials said it was not clear whether self-employed workers like doctors, private nurses and taxi drivers could bill holiday fees, which are higher than fees on regular working days. The Prefecture of Police in Paris, which oversees taxis, admitted that the rules were so confusing that taxi drivers could decide to charge the higher holiday fare. Since parking meters in Paris are run by a computer program that had not been changed to eliminate the holiday, there was free holiday parking here. The failure of the center-right government to persuade French people to make a sacrifice in the name of the greater good added to its woes just 13 days before a national referendum on the European Union constitution. The outcome of the referendum is uncertain. In a May 14 poll by the research group Ifop, the no voters were in the lead, with 54 percent, against 46 percent planning to vote yes. Twenty-eight percent said they might change their mind one way or the other. In a TNS Sofres poll for the newspaper Le Monde conducted on May 9 and May 10, 52 percent said they would support the treaty, up from 47 percent at the beginning of April. The government challenged the assumption that the initiative had failed, noting that many workers were taking an 'RTT' day, meaning 'reduction of working time,' one of the compensatory days off that they earn if they work more than the legal 35-hour week. 'Polls show that only 14 percent of people are actually on strike,' said a government spokesman, Jean-François Cope, on Europe 1 radio. 'Most of those who are not working are just exercising their normal right to take a day off, and they'll give another one up later in the year. Everyone understands that we need this day of solidarity in order to secure the permanent financing of our care of the elderly.' The initiative originated with an offhand proposal in September 2003 by Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin to abolish the holiday - then one of 11 national holidays. The intention is to raise $2.6 billion to improve health care for the elderly after a heat wave in the summer of 2003 killed an estimated 15,000 people, most of them elderly and isolated. But Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy has estimated that about $7.5 billion per year is needed.

Subject: Jewel to Jewel
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 10:30:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=5347&u=17|4|... Yellow Warbler Taking Flight New York City--Central Park, Harlem Meer.

Subject: Forest's Colorful Jewels in Danger
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 10:17:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/17/science/17flow.html?8hpib Forest's Colorful Jewels in a Fight for Their Lives By BARBARA WHITAKER Inside a 10-foot-high fence at the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in suburban Washington, woodland wildflowers have been putting on a carefully choreographed show since mid-March. The bloodroots took the stage first, unfurling white petals around their yellow hearts, and were followed by delicate Virginia bluebells and dainty pink spring beauties. Over the last week, red, white and yellow trilliums joined blue dwarf-crested iris and a handful of pink lady's slippers on a simulated mountaintop. But outside such meticulously cultivated gardens, these jewels of the forest, which include cherished flowers known as spring ephemerals, are under siege. 'They're being devastated,' said Keith P. Tomlinson, manager of Meadowlark, in Vienna, Va. As an example he used the Mather Gorge trail in Great Falls National Park a few miles away on the Potomac River. There, bluebells, golden ragwort and trilliums are being crowded out by invasive plants and ravaged by deer. 'They're fighting for their lives,' he said. In deciduous forests from Maine through South Carolina and stretching to the Midwest, the story is much the same. Although in some areas, spring-blooming wildflowers have other enemies, including housing developments, changes in forest densities, pollution and even nonnative worms. 'I'm concerned about many of the spring wildflowers of our woodlands through the northeastern America, where their abundance is being significantly decreased,' said Dr. Robert K. Peet, a professor of biology and ecology at the University of North Carolina. The trend would be easy to miss. True spring ephemerals like Dutchman's breeches, Virginia bluebells, trout lilies and spring beauties flower and die in the few weeks after winter's freeze has broken and before the trees have fully leafed out and blocked the sun. The ephemerals live the rest of the year underground and are believed to have life spans of tens to hundreds of years like the trees around them. While often lumped in with those spring ephemerals, other woodland spring wildflowers like trillium lose their blooms but keep their foliage above ground throughout the summer. Determining long-term trends for wildflowers can be tricky because species can go several years without flowering, said Dr. Charles D. Canham, senior scientist and forest ecologist with the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y. In addition, forests change, and the understory plants change along with them. A large, and beloved, stand of yellow lady's slipper orchids disappeared on the 6,500-acre Mohonk Preserve in New Paltz, N.Y., over 100 years. The loss was related to a thickening of the forest canopy rather than outside influences. Few broad studies have been done on perils confronting woodland spring wildflowers. But limited surveys and anecdotes suggest that there is reason for concern. 'Our forests are becoming less interesting,' said Dr. Tom Rooney, a research scientist at the University of Wisconsin who has examined the problem. 'It's similar to going to an art museum, and each time you go, there are a few pieces of art missing. It's even more insidious because of connections between the species.' In Wisconsin, where historic data from several hundred forested sites are available, Dr. Rooney said, native species have declined 18 percent in richness over the last 50 years, including the spring ephemerals and other related wildflowers. 'In places that have had very limited or no deer hunting, native plant losses are four times greater than those open to deer hunting,' Dr. Rooney said. 'The deer population has been growing steadily since the 1960's. They are having a profound effect on the spring ephemerals and other wildflowers.' At the Daniel Smiley Research Center of the Mohonk Preserve, researchers have been studying a stand of red trillium for several years to determine the deer's effects. 'We can get the first flower out, but probably within a week almost all the plants are chewed off,' said Paul C. Huth, the preserve's director of research. Mr. Huth said the plants were about half their previous size and did not flower. Rivaling the deer for destructiveness are invasive plants like Japanese honeysuckle, garlic mustard and mile-a-minute weed. 'In another 20 years, if the progression of invasive plants continues as it is, we can only expect that the diversity of spring ephemerals is going to continue to be reduced in association with the overbrowsing by the deer,' Mr. Tomlinson said. Sally Anderson, president of the Virginia Native Plant Society and a resident of the western Shenandoah Valley, said invasive plants like garlic mustard and stilt weed constantly competed for space on her acre and a half, much of it wooded, while the process of clearing nearby lots to build houses has taken habitat once rich with trillium grandiflorum. The problems, Ms. Anderson said, go deeper than the loss of the flowers. 'The seeds of a lot of our spring ephemerals are transported by ants,' she noted. 'So if confined by roads and driveways and houses, the plants not going to move as easily, and they are going to lose the genetic intermixing that keeps them healthy.' Some botanists and ecologists say there is a much bigger story, beyond the threat to wildflowers, that involves the decline and diversity of understory plants. The loss of one species will probably not make a huge difference, but the loss of biodiversity in the groundcover will. In parts of the Eastern United States, forests are widely thought to be on the rebound as land cleared for agriculture and now abandoned reverts to its former state. But research is showing that much of the diversity in those forests is missing and that many spring woodland wildflowers have not reappeared. 'What we have back is a shadow of its former self,' said Dr. Canham of the Institute of Ecosystem Studies. 'There's very little rigorous documentation of plants like trillium or bloodroot. They could be much rarer now than they were 50 years ago, but it would be very hard to prove that.'

Subject: Gmail
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 09:39:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Gmail is a wonderful mail service with endless storage and Google search, so I save every valuable New York Times article to my Gmail. There may be no finer mail service. I also subscribe to the New York Times and always will.

Subject: Re: Gmail
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 10:39:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Gmail is Google's mail service. I know of no finer service, and we can store articles forever.

Subject: For All of Us a Gift
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 05:56:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.calvorn.com/gallery/photo.php?photo=5400 Magnolia Warbler Feeding New York City--Central Park, The Pool.

Subject: Re: For All of Us a Gift
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 08:53:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Great photo. It must take hours of stoic vigilence to get a shot of such small, very quickly moving birds like these. Thanks Terri.

Subject: Drastic change to this site?
From: David E..
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 03:51:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'As most of you probably already heard, the NY Times will put its op/ed pages behind a paid firewall, making such content available to exisiting print subscribers and those who shell out $50/year.' from the daily kos.

Subject: All Will Be Well
From: Terri
To: David E..
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 06:00:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
All will be well. The site will be here for us all.

Subject: Re: All Will Be Well
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 07:23:20 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Remember, only the columns will be charged for not the news. Bobby and Paul Krugman will tell us how to proceed. I am not at all concerned, and will always read the Times thoroughly.

Subject: Re: Drastic change to this site?
From: Terri
To: David E..
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 05:51:27 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There will be no charge for those you get the New York Times print edition. I think this will be fair.

Subject: All Will Be Well
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 07:12:04 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This site is precious and will be here for us. I am happy to subscribe to the New York Times.

Subject: Over time....
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 08:47:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
more and more of what is worthwhile on the internet will come with a price and we will be able to copy and paste less and less. Many links will require subscriptions to access. But the people who research and write for these publications and sites must be paid for their efforts.

Subject: Immediate effect
From: David E..
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 12:55:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Your subscription to the NYtimes Terri will not authorize posting a copy of Paul Krugman's column on the internet. The Wall Street Journal enforces this and I fully expect the Times to enforce this.

Subject: Re: Immediate effect
From: Terri
To: David E..
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 13:59:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Hmmm. If I have a subscription to a Journal, I can post an article on my website. I hope and think there is no problem. Hmmm. I do not expect a problem.

Subject: Re: Immediate effect
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 14:19:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The New York Times archives can only be used for a fee, but only we pay the fee we can copy an article to our website. There should be no problem, and access will be open to subscribers or reasonably priced for those who just with to use the internet edition of the Times. All will be well with our site.

Subject: Re: Immediate effect
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 17:42:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
My attorney sister tells me there should be no problem maintaining this site.

Subject: Re: Immediate effect
From: David E..
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 00:21:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The Wall Street Journal does not let subscribers post its articles on the web. The NYTImes will do the same. How can they make money selling access to NY times editorials if Terri is publishing them for free. If you buy a record, or buy a book, you have a right to make copies for your personal use. Personal use does not include making copies for everyone. College professors get in trouble doing this, kids making copies of CD's get in trouble doing this, and very likely Terri will get in trouble publishing NYTimes material on the web.

Subject: Re: Immediate effect
From: Terri
To: David E..
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 21:37:58 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thank you for all your wonderful help. I will do only what is allowed, for that is always they way to do things.

Subject: Re: Immediate effect
From: Terri
To: David E..
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 05:56:39 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I love the Times and subscribe and always will, and will always do just what is allowed. There will never be a problem.

Subject: Re: Immediate effect
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 05:59:35 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We will have this lovely site and this message board, and the discussion will happily go on as it goes on now.

Subject: Re: Immediate effect
From: Ryan
To: David E..
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 03:51:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
So you mean I must read the articles online the day the come out. New York Times offers a free online subscription. You just can't read any old articles. More incentive to stay up with the current news.

Subject: Re: Immediate effect
From: Terri
To: Ryan
Date Posted: Wed, May 18, 2005 at 18:24:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Yeah :)

Subject: Interest Rates and Bond Fund Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 11:48:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Though I never worry about a loss in a bond fund, for the funds I buy use no derivatives that might cause significant price swings and so move slowly enough to easily react, I agree completely that there is likely no room remaining for capital gains to be made in the bond market. Interest rates seem too low to allow for significant bond fund returns, but Vanguard's long term bond funds have surely been glorious and intermediate or short term or GNMA bond funds can always be defensive.

Subject: Should we set a time table to...
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 11:37:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
get out?: 'So we need to get beyond the clichés - please, no more 'pottery barn principles' or 'staying the course.' I'm not advocating an immediate pullout, but we have to tell the Iraqi government that our stay is time-limited, and that it has to find a way to take care of itself. The point is that something has to give. We either need a much bigger army - which means a draft - or we need to find a way out of Iraq.' - Paul Krugman NYT

Subject: Re: Should we set a time table to...
From: Pete Weis
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 18:14:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I think Paul Krugman is more or less agreeing with you. But by instituting a sheduled pullout and announcing it, a sense of urgency might light a fire under the new Iraqi government. They might become much more assertive with regard to seizing the reigns of power. But as long as they believe the US and Brits will remain indefinitely, they will not be able to give up the life jackets which will be taken from them in the end anyway. We would, in effect, be telling them that by a given date we are going to throw them into the water and they are going to have to learn to swim on their own to survive. As you point out - over time, the insurgents will grow stronger not weaker. I believe it's impossible, politically for any US or British leadership to suddenly pull up stakes and leave in only weeks or months. We have to wonder though, what are the ultimate goals of the Bush administration with regard to leaving a large contigent of troups in the Middle East.

Subject: Re: Should we set a time table to...
From: Paul G. Brown
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 21:16:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'We have to wonder though, what are the ultimate goals of the Bush administration with regard to leaving a large contigent of troups in the Middle East.' I believe what I've been told about their sincerity. They really believe that having a local 'Police Station' is a good thing, and that the prospect of a democratized Iraq will trigger a kind of domino effect throughout the region (Man - 'Domino Theory' was a crappy analogy for historical change when it was used as a whip to goad us into Vietnam. Now we're actually pushing it. How times have changed.)

Subject: Re: Should we set a time table to...
From: Paul G. Brown
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 17:10:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Dudes, it's truly one gigantic mess. Figure out where a) what we want, and b) what we can hope for intersect, and we can possibly figure out what we ought to do. If the Jihadi's in Iraq follow the pattern of other insurgencies who have fought large standing armies, then they know that time is on their side. They can expect a US bug-out, sooner or later. They've probably read Nial Ferguson's _Colossus_ so they know that the US has a long history of sending in the Marines and then leaving too few of 'em there for not long enough to make a difference (in contrast to empires of the recent past like Britain and France who opted for long term occupation). So suppose I'm an angry young Iraqi Mullah of some talent and ambition. What do I do? Well, I can assume that the Americans will leave sooner or later, at which point the stage is set for a hum-dinger of a civil war to settle who gets the corner office next. Now if I can position my boys as liberators--throw a few stones now and then, blow up the odd tank, be especially hard on collaborators--without bringing down the B-52's on my neighborhood, ten I'm in good shape for the fight that really counts. People will respect me, or at least fear me. And what better way is there to build organization and espri-de-corps than fight small, ugly, running battles with the Marines. I mean, they're really good at what they do, these Americans. Disciplined. Well equipped. They're 10x the fighting force that any post-occupation government of Iraq can hope to put into the field. So much for what we can hope for: no battles with decisive outcomes (they won't risk that; not an important fight). Rather we should anticipate the endless, dailly grind of occupation. One dead per day. Locals getting increasingly pissed off over time as we demolish their homes in an effort to get the bad guy with the RPG who slipped out through the back door ten minutes ago. And when we do pull out we leave a number of small, tough armies, all well positioned to inflict deep hurt on whatever government we leave in place. On the other hand, we might go the British route. Mobilization. 'Would all citizens and permanent residents 18 through 35 please please file their draft board registrations. Those with 'special' skills--welding, automotive repair, computers--taken up to ages 40.' How to pay for it? Hey! I hear our credit's still good with the Chinese. And they do a fine line of cottons in khaki. Frankly this is a political non starter. So sadly, I'm going to conclude in disagreement with PK. The most politically pallatable and least awful of a set of really, really bad choices, right now, is to withdraw immediately, and to turn the place over to an imperfect Iraqi government *before* the various Mad Mahdi armies get comfortable with fighting insurgency style. By turning the whole mess into a civil war now we improve the chances that the ultimate winner won't be one of the groups we're at war with now. Heck! It might even be democratic. And I say this as someone who remains supportive of international intervention in 'troubled' nations. But it's clear that this whole episode was poisoned at conception.

Subject: Oops!
From: Pete Weis
To: Paul G. Brown
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 18:17:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Paul. Meant to reply to you here.

Subject: Re: Oops!
From: Paul G. Brown
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 21:18:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
No worries. I'll talk wherever I'm asked to.

Subject: Re: Oops!
From: Terri
To: Paul G. Brown
Date Posted: Tues, May 17, 2005 at 05:54:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Paul and Pete, you are always asked to talk. You always are teaching me. Thank you.

Subject: Beneath the surface
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 10:33:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
From the London Times: May 15, 2005 City hedge funds head for domino collapse Peter Koenig and Louise Armitstead BAD investments by some of the biggest hedge funds in London have triggered unprecedented losses, record demands for money back and talk of a death spiral weighing heavily on stocks and bonds. GLG, a hedge fund started in 1995 by a group of former Goldman Sachs bankers, has in recent weeks had demands for more than $500m (£270m) from investors wanting to pull out of its $4 billion market-neutral fund. The predicament of GLG, the biggest group in Europe, with $13 billion under management, highlights the stress being felt at many hedge funds in Europe and America after four months of deteriorating results. Prime brokers and the credit departments in investment banks have been calling clients to check their capital strengths as rumours of a big hedge-fund blow-out grip the industry. London-based Cheyne is thought to be down by at least 10% in its credit fund after the downgrading of debt at General Motors and Ford. Ferox, another of London’s most successful funds, is thought to be down nearly 20%. Bailey Coates, Polygon, Rubicon, Vega, Moore Capital and Brevan Howard are all nursing heavy losses of about 5% each in April. Bailey Coates, whose losses reported in The Sunday Times three weeks ago first alerted the wider market to the industry crisis, has had yet more redemption calls. “What you’re seeing is like a run on the bank,” said Narayan Naik, director of hedge-fund studies at the London Business School. “Selling forces more selling and there’s a cascade effect.” Although industry experts said there was no hedge-fund blow-out on the scale of Long Term Capital Management in 1998, many are concerned that the worst might not be over. “There’s not a panic like when LTCM nearly went bust,” said Naik, “but prices will keep dropping until excess money is squeezed out of the hedge-fund industry and a new floor is established.” After performing well in the fourth quarter last year, funds have run into increasing difficulty this year as a downturn in consumer spending has sparked fears of a broader slowdown. While GLG reported that one of its key funds was down 5.2%, a Man Group scheme suffered a 3.1% decline and Madrid-based Vega told investors one of its leading funds was down 6%. May has also started rockily. Some hedge funds were wrongfooted when Standard & Poor’s downgraded General Motors and Ford bonds to junk levels, and US investor Kirk Kerkorian used the opportunity to buy shares. Bond prices fell and share prices rose, the opposite of what fund managers thought would happen. Hedge funds that specialise in convertibles — bonds investors can exchange for shares — have also had a hard time. Funds had bought up nearly 80% of all convertibles, so when their prices fell it turned into a stampede.

Subject: Re: Beneath the surface
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 11:22:02 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,8209-1612390,00.html Then here is the link to the hedge fund article.... Thanks.

Subject: Re: Beneath the surface
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 12:58:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What is the estimation of the Times of Britain? Should this hedge fund article be taken as credible?

Subject: Re: Beneath the surface
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 14:56:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Apparently the article is accurate. I have wondered why the convertible securities market was oddly weak recently. Not a market I uniderstand.

Subject: Life at the Top in America: Healthier
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 09:47:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/16/national/class/HEALTH-FINAL.html?pagewanted=all Life at the Top in America Isn't Just Better, It's Longer By JANNY SCOTT Jean G. Miele's heart attack happened on a sidewalk in Midtown Manhattan last May. He was walking back to work along Third Avenue with two colleagues after a several-hundred-dollar sushi lunch. There was the distant rumble of heartburn, the ominous tingle of perspiration. Then Mr. Miele, an architect, collapsed onto a concrete planter in a cold sweat. Will L. Wilson's heart attack came four days earlier in the bedroom of his brownstone in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. He had been regaling his fiancée with the details of an all-you-can-eat dinner he was beginning to regret. Mr. Wilson, a Consolidated Edison office worker, was feeling a little bloated. He flopped onto the bed. Then came a searing sensation, like a hot iron deep inside his chest. Ewa Rynczak Gora's first signs of trouble came in her rented room in the noisy shadow of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. It was the Fourth of July. Ms. Gora, a Polish-born housekeeper, was playing bridge. Suddenly she was sweating, stifling an urge to vomit. She told her husband not to call an ambulance; it would cost too much. Instead, she tried a home remedy: salt water, a double dose of hypertension pills and a glass of vodka. Architect, utility worker, maid: heart attack is the great leveler, and in those first fearful moments, three New Yorkers with little in common faced a single, common threat. But in the months that followed, their experiences diverged. Social class - that elusive combination of income, education, occupation and wealth - played a powerful role in Mr. Miele's, Mr. Wilson's and Ms. Gora's struggles to recover. Class informed everything from the circumstances of their heart attacks to the emergency care each received, the households they returned to and the jobs they hoped to resume. It shaped their understanding of their illness, the support they got from their families, their relationships with their doctors. It helped define their ability to change their lives and shaped their odds of getting better. Class is a potent force in health and longevity in the United States. The more education and income people have, the less likely they are to have and die of heart disease, strokes, diabetes and many types of cancer. Upper-middle-class Americans live longer and in better health than middle-class Americans, who live longer and better than those at the bottom. And the gaps are widening, say people who have researched social factors in health. As advances in medicine and disease prevention have increased life expectancy in the United States, the benefits have disproportionately gone to people with education, money, good jobs and connections. They are almost invariably in the best position to learn new information early, modify their behavior, take advantage of the latest treatments and have the cost covered by insurance. Many risk factors for chronic diseases are now more common among the less educated than the better educated. Smoking has dropped sharply among the better educated, but not among the less. Physical inactivity is more than twice as common among high school dropouts as among college graduates. Lower-income women are more likely than other women to be overweight, though the pattern among men may be the opposite. There may also be subtler differences. Some researchers now believe that the stress involved in so-called high-demand, low-control jobs further down the occupational scale is more harmful than the stress of professional jobs that come with greater autonomy and control. Others are studying the health impact of job insecurity, lack of support on the job, and employment that makes it difficult to balance work and family obligations. Then there is the issue of social networks and support, the differences in the knowledge, time and attention that a person's family and friends are in a position to offer. What is the effect of social isolation? Neighborhood differences have also been studied: How stressful is a neighborhood? Are there safe places to exercise? What are the health effects of discrimination? Heart attack is a window on the effects of class on health. The risk factors - smoking, poor diet, inactivity, obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and stress - are all more common among the less educated and less affluent, the same group that research has shown is less likely to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation, to get emergency room care or to adhere to lifestyle changes after heart attacks. 'In the last 20 years, there have been enormous advances in rescuing patients with heart attack and in knowledge about how to prevent heart attack,' said Ichiro Kawachi, a professor of social epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. 'It's like diffusion of innovation: whenever innovation comes along, the well-to-do are much quicker at adopting it. On the lower end, various disadvantages have piled onto the poor. Diet has gotten worse. There's a lot more work stress. People have less time, if they're poor, to devote to health maintenance behaviors when they are juggling two jobs. Mortality rates even among the poor are coming down, but the rate is not anywhere near as fast as for the well-to-do. So the gap has increased.' Bruce G. Link, a professor of epidemiology and sociomedical sciences at Columbia University, said of the double-edged consequences of progress: 'We're creating disparities. It's almost as if it's transforming health, which used to be like fate, into a commodity. Like the distribution of BMW's or goat cheese.' The Best of Care Mr. Miele's advantage began with the people he was with on May 6, when the lining of his right coronary artery ruptured, cutting off the flow of blood to his 66-year-old heart. His two colleagues were knowledgeable enough to dismiss his request for a taxi and call an ambulance instead. And because he was in Midtown Manhattan, there were major medical centers nearby, all licensed to do the latest in emergency cardiac care. The emergency medical technician in the ambulance offered Mr. Miele (pronounced MEE-lee) a choice. He picked Tisch Hospital, part of New York University Medical Center, an academic center with relatively affluent patients, and passed up Bellevue, a city-run hospital with one of the busiest emergency rooms in New York. Within minutes, Mr. Miele was on a table in the cardiac catheterization laboratory, awaiting an angioplasty to unclog his artery - a procedure that many cardiologists say has become the gold standard in heart attack treatment. When he developed ventricular fibrillation, a heart rhythm abnormality that can be fatal within minutes, the problem was quickly fixed. Then Dr. James N. Slater, a 54-year-old cardiologist with some 25,000 cardiac catheterizations under his belt, threaded a catheter through a small incision in the top of Mr. Miele's right thigh and steered it toward his heart. Mr. Miele lay on the table, thinking about dying. By 3:52 p.m., less than two hours after Mr. Miele's first symptoms, his artery was reopened and Dr. Slater implanted a stent to keep it that way. Time is muscle, as cardiologists say. The damage to Mr. Miele's heart was minimal. Mr. Miele spent just two days in the hospital. His brother-in-law, a surgeon, suggested a few specialists. Mr. Miele's brother, Joel, chairman of the board of another hospital, asked his hospital's president to call N.Y.U. 'Professional courtesy,' Joel Miele explained later. 'The bottom line is that someone from management would have called patient care and said, 'Look, would you make sure everything's O.K.?' ' Things went less flawlessly for Mr. Wilson, a 53-year-old transportation coordinator for Con Ed. He imagined fleetingly that he was having a bad case of indigestion, though he had had a heart attack before. His fiancée insisted on calling an ambulance. Again, the emergency medical technician offered a choice of two nearby hospitals - neither of which had state permission to do an angioplasty, the procedure Mr. Miele received. Mr. Wilson chose the Brooklyn Hospital Center over Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, the city-run hospital that serves three of Brooklyn's poorest neighborhoods. At Brooklyn Hospital, he was given a drug to break up the clot blocking an artery to his heart. It worked at first, said Narinder P. Bhalla, the hospital's chief of cardiology, but the clot re-formed. So Dr. Bhalla had Mr. Wilson taken to the Weill Cornell Center of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan the next morning. There, Dr. Bhalla performed an angioplasty and implanted a stent. Asked later whether Mr. Wilson would have been better off if he had had his heart attack elsewhere, Dr. Bhalla said the most important issue in heart attack treatment was getting the patient to a hospital quickly. But he added, 'In his case, yes, he would have been better off had he been to a hospital that was doing angioplasty.' Mr. Wilson spent five days in the hospital before heading home on many of the same high-priced drugs that Mr. Miele would be taking and under similar instructions to change his diet and exercise regularly. After his first heart attack in 2000, he quit smoking; but once he was feeling better, he had stopped taking several medications, drifted back to red meat and fried foods, and let his exercise program slip. This time would be different, he vowed: 'I don't think I'll survive another one.' Ms. Gora's experience was the rockiest. First, she hesitated before allowing her husband to call an ambulance; she hoped her symptoms would go away. He finally insisted; but when the ambulance arrived, she resisted leaving. The emergency medical technician had to talk her into going. She was given no choice of hospitals; she was simply taken to Woodhull, the city hospital Mr. Wilson had rejected. Woodhull was busy when Ms. Gora arrived around 10:30 p.m. A triage nurse found her condition stable and classified her as 'high priority.' Two hours later, a physician assistant and an attending doctor examined her again and found her complaining of chest pain, shortness of breath and heart palpitations. Over the next few hours, tests confirmed she was having a heart attack. She was given drugs to stop her blood from clotting and to control her blood pressure, treatment that Woodhull officials say is standard for the type of heart attack she was having. The heart attack passed. The next day, Ms. Gora was transferred to Bellevue, the hospital Mr. Miele had turned down, for an angiogram to assess her risk of a second heart attack. But Ms. Gora, who was 59 at the time, came down with a fever at Bellevue, so the angiogram had to be canceled. She remained at Bellevue for two weeks, being treated for an infection. Finally, she was sent home. No angiogram was ever done. Comforts and Risks Mr. Miele is a member of New York City's upper middle class. The son of an architect and an artist, he worked his way through college, driving an ice cream truck and upholstering theater seats. He spent two years in the military and then joined his father's firm, where he built a practice as not only an architect but also an arbitrator and an expert witness, developing real estate on the side. Mr. Miele is the kind of person who makes things happen. He bought a $21,000 house in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, sold it about 15 years later for $285,000 and used the money to build his current house next door, worth over $2 million. In Brookhaven, on Long Island, he took a derelict house on a single acre, annexed several adjoining lots and created what is now a four-acre, three-house compound with an undulating lawn and a 15,000-square-foot greenhouse he uses as a workshop for his collection of vintage Jaguars. Mr. Miele's architecture partners occasionally joked that he was not in the business for the money, which to some extent was true. He had figured out how to live like a millionaire, he liked to say, even before he became one. He had worked four-day weeks for the last 20 years, spending long weekends with his family, sailing or iceboating on Bellport Bay and rebuilding cars. Mr. Miele had never thought of himself as a candidate for a heart attack - even though both his parents had died of heart disease; even though his brother had had arteries unclogged; even though he himself was on hypertension medication, his cholesterol levels bordered on high and his doctor had been suggesting he lose weight. He was a passionate chef who put great store in the healthfulness of fresh ingredients from the Mieles' vegetable garden or the greengrocers in Park Slope. His breakfasts may have been a cardiologist's nightmare - eggs, sausage, bacon, pastina with a poached egg - but he considered his marinara sauce to be healthy perfection: just garlic, oil, tomatoes, salt and pepper. He figured he had something else working in his favor: he was happy. He adored his second wife, Lori, 23 years younger, and their 6-year-old daughter, Emma. He lived within blocks of his two sisters and two of his three grown children from his first marriage. The house regularly overflowed with guests, including Mr. Miele's former wife and her husband. He seemed to know half the people of Park Slope. 'I walk down the street and I feel good about it every day,' Mr. Miele, a gregarious figure with twinkling blue eyes and a taste for worn T-shirts and jeans, said of his neighborhood. 'And, yes, that gives me a feeling of well-being.' His approach to his health was utilitarian. When body parts broke, he got them fixed so he could keep doing what he liked to do. So he had had disc surgery, rotator cuff surgery, surgery for a carpal tunnel problem. But he was also not above an occasional bit of neglect. In March 2004, his doctor suggested a stress test after Mr. Miele complained of shortness of breath. On May 6, the prescription was still hanging on the kitchen cabinet door. An important link in the safety net that caught Mr. Miele was his wife, a former executive at a sweater manufacturing company who had stopped work to raise Emma but managed the Mieles' real estate as well. While Mr. Miele was still in the hospital, she was on the Internet, Googling stents. She scheduled his medical appointments. She got his prescriptions filled. Leaving him at home one afternoon, she taped his cardiologist's business card to the couch where he was sitting. 'Call Dr. Hayes and let him know you're coughing,' she said, her fingertips on his shoulder. Thirty minutes later, she called home to check. She prodded Mr. Miele, gently, to cut his weekly egg consumption to two, from seven. She found fresh whole wheat pasta and cooked it with turkey sausage and broccoli rabe. She knew her way around nutrition labels. Ms. Miele took on the burden of dealing with the hospital and insurance companies. She accompanied Mr. Miele to his doctor's appointments and retained pharmaceutical dosages in her head. 'I can just leave and she can give you all the answers to all the questions,' Mr. Miele said to his cardiologist, Dr. Richard M. Hayes, one day. 'O.K., why don't you just leave?' Dr. Hayes said back. 'Can she also examine you?' With his wife's support, Mr. Miele set out to lose 30 pounds. His pasta consumption plunged to a plate a week from two a day. It was not hard to eat healthfully from the Mieles' kitchens. Even the 'junk drawer' in Park Slope was stocked with things like banana chips and sugared almonds. Lunches in Brookhaven went straight from garden to table: tomatoes with basil, eggplant, corn, zucchini flower tempura. At Dr. Hayes's suggestion, Mr. Miele enrolled in a three-month monitored exercise program for heart disease patients, called cardiac rehab, which has been shown to reduce the mortality rate among heart patients by 20 percent. Mr. Miele's insurance covered the cost. He even managed to minimize the inconvenience, finding a class 10 minutes from his country house. He had the luxury of not having to rush back to work. By early June, he had decided he would take the summer off, and maybe cut back his work week when he returned to the firm. 'You know, the more I think about it, the less I like the idea of going back to work,' he said. 'I don't see any real advantage. I mean, there's money. But you've got to take the money out of the equation.' So he put a new top on his 1964 Corvair. He played host to a large family reunion, replaced the heat exchanger in his boat and transformed the ramshackle greenhouse into an elaborate workshop. His weight dropped to 189 pounds, from 211. He had doubled the intensity of his workouts. His blood pressure was lower than ever. Mr. Miele saw Dr. Hayes only twice in six months, for routine follow-ups. He had been known to walk out of doctors' offices if he was not seen within 20 minutes, but Dr. Hayes did not keep him waiting. The Mieles were swept into the examining room at the appointed hour. Buoyed by the evidence of Mr. Miele's recovery, they would head out to lunch in downtown Manhattan. Those afternoons had the feel of impromptu dates. 'My wife tells me that I'm doing 14-hour days,' Mr. Miele mused one afternoon, slicing cold chicken and piling it with fresh tomatoes on toast. 'She said, 'You're doing better now than you did 10 years ago.' And I said, 'I haven't had sex in a week.' And she said, 'Well?' ' Just one unpleasant thing happened. Mr. Miele's partners informed him in late July that they wanted him to retire. It caught him off guard, and it hurt. He countered by taking the position that he was officially disabled and therefore entitled to be paid through May 5, 2005. 'I mean, the guy has a heart attack,' he said later. 'So you get him while he's down?' Lukewarm Efforts to Reform Will Wilson fits squarely in the city's middle class. His parents had been sharecroppers who moved north and became a machinist and a nurse. He grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant and had spent 34 years at Con Ed. He had an income of $73,000, five weeks' vacation, health benefits, a house worth $450,000 and plans to retire to North Carolina at 55. Mr. Wilson, too, had imagined becoming an architect. But there had been no money for college, so he found a job as a utility worker. By age 22, he had two children. He considered going back to school, with the company's support, to study engineering. But doing shift work, and with small children, he never found the time. For years he was a high-voltage cable splicer, a job he loved because it meant working outdoors with plenty of freedom and overtime pay. But on a snowy night in the early 1980's, a car skidded into a stanchion, which hit him in the back. A doctor suggested that Mr. Wilson learn to live with the pain instead of having disc surgery, as Mr. Miele had done. So Mr. Wilson became a laboratory technician, then a transportation coordinator, working in a cubicle in a low-slung building in Astoria, Queens, overseeing fuel deliveries for the company's fleet. Some people might think of the work as tedious, Mr. Wilson said, 'but it keeps you busy.' 'Sometimes you look back over your past life experiences and you realize that if you would have done something different, you would have been someplace else,' he said. 'I don't dwell on it too much because I'm not in a negative position. But you do say, 'Well, dag, man, I should have done this or that.' ' Mr. Wilson's health was not bad, but far from perfect. He had quit drinking and smoking, but had high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. He was slim, 5-foot-9 and just under 170 pounds. He traced his first heart attack to his smoking, his diet and the stress from a grueling divorce. His earlier efforts to reform his eating habits were half-hearted. Once he felt better, he stopped taking his cholesterol and hypertension drugs. When his cardiologist moved and referred Mr. Wilson to another doctor, he was annoyed by what he considered the rudeness of the office staff. Instead of demanding courtesy or finding another specialist, Mr. Wilson stopped going. By the time Dr. Bhalla encountered Mr. Wilson at Brooklyn Hospital, there was damage to all three main areas of his heart. Dr. Bhalla prescribed a half-dozen drugs to lower Mr. Wilson's cholesterol, prevent clotting and control his blood pressure. 'He has to behave himself,' Dr. Bhalla said. 'He needs to be more compliant with his medications. He has to really go on a diet, which is grains, no red meat, no fat. No fat at all.' Mr. Wilson had grown up eating his mother's fried chicken, pork chops and macaroni and cheese. He confronted those same foods at holiday parties and big events. There were doughnut shops and fried chicken places in his neighborhood; but Mr. Wilson's fiancée, Melvina Murrell Green, found it hard to find fresh produce and good fish. 'People in my circle, they don't look at food as, you know, too much fat in it,' Mr. Wilson said. 'I don't think it's going to change. It's custom.' At Red Lobster after his second heart attack, Ms. Green would order chicken and Mr. Wilson would have salmon - plus a side order of fried shrimp. 'He's still having a problem with the fried seafood,' Ms. Green reported sympathetically. Whole grains remained mysterious. 'That we've got to work on,' she said. 'Well, we recently bought a bag of grain something. I'm not used to that. We try to put it on the cereal. It's O.K.' In August, Ms. Green's blood pressure shot up. The culprit turned out to be a turkey chili recipe that she and Mr. Wilson had discovered: every ingredient except the turkey came from a can. She was shocked when her doctor pointed out the salt content. The Con Ed cafeteria, too, was problematic. So Mr. Wilson began driving to the Best Yet Market in Astoria at lunch to troll the salad bar. Dr. Bhalla had suggested that Mr. Wilson walk for exercise. There was little open space in the neighborhood, so Mr. Wilson and Ms. Green often drove just to go for a stroll. In mid-October he entered a cardiac rehab program like Mr. Miele's, only less convenient. He would drive into Manhattan after work, during the afternoon rush, three days a week. He would hunt for on-street parking or pay too much for a space in a lot. Then a stranger threatened to damage Mr. Wilson's car in a confrontation over a free spot, so Mr. Wilson switched to the subway. For a time, he considered applying for permanent disability. But Con Ed allowed him to return to work 'on restrictions,' so he decided to go back, with plans to retire in a year and a half. The week before he went back, he and Ms. Green took a seven-day cruise to Nassau. It was a revelation. 'Sort of like helped me to see there's a lot more things to do in life,' he said. 'I think a lot of people deny themselves certain things in life, in terms of putting things off, 'I'll do it later.' Later may never come.' Ignoring the Risks Ms. Gora is a member of the working class. A bus driver's daughter, she arrived in New York City from Krakow in the early 1990's, leaving behind a grown son. She worked as a housekeeper in a residence for the elderly in Manhattan, making beds and cleaning toilets. She said her annual income was $21,000 to $23,000 a year, with health insurance through her union. For $365 a month, she rented a room in a friend's Brooklyn apartment on a street lined with aluminum-sided row houses and American flags. She used the friend's bathroom and kitchen. She was in her seventh year on a waiting list for a subsidized one-bedroom apartment in the adjacent Williamsburg neighborhood. In the meantime, she had acquired a roommate: Edward Gora, an asbestos-removal worker newly arrived from Poland and 10 years her junior, whom she met and married in 2003. Like Mr. Miele, Ms. Gora had never imagined she was at risk of a heart attack, though she was overweight, hypertensive and a 30-year smoker, and heart attacks had killed her father and sister. She had numerous health problems, which she addressed selectively, getting treated for back pain, ulcers and so on until the treatment became too expensive or inconvenient, or her insurance declined to pay. 'My doctor said, 'Ewa, be careful with cholesterol,' ' recalled Ms. Gora, whose vestigial Old World sense of propriety had her dressed in heels and makeup for every visit to Bellevue. 'When she said that, I think nothing; I don't care. Because I don't believe this touch me. Or I think she have to say like that because she doctor. Like cigarettes: she doctor, she always told me to stop. And when I got out of the office, lights up.' Ms. Gora had a weakness for the peak of the food pyramid. She grew up on her mother's fried pork chops, spare ribs and meatballs - all cooked with lard - and had become a pizza, hamburger and French fry enthusiast in the United States. Fast food was not only tasty but also affordable. 'I eat terrible,' she reported cheerily from her bed at Bellevue. 'I like grease food and fast food. And cigarettes.' She loved the feeling of a cigarette between her fingers, the rhythmic rise and fall of it to her lips. Using her home computer, she had figured out how to buy Marlboros online for just $2.49 a pack. Her husband smoked, her friends all smoked. Everyone she knew seemed to love tobacco and steak. Her life was physically demanding. She would rise at 6 a.m. to catch a bus to the subway, change trains three times and arrive at work by 8 a.m. She would make 25 to 30 beds, vacuum, cart out trash. Yet she says she loved her life. 'I think America is El Dorado,' she said. 'Because in Poland now is terrible; very little bit money. Here, I don't have a lot of, but I live normal. I have enough, not for rich life but for normal life.' The precise nature of Ms. Gora's illness was far from clear to her even after two weeks in Bellevue. In her first weeks home, she remained unconvinced that she had had a heart attack. She arrived at the Bellevue cardiology clinic for her first follow-up appointment imagining that whatever procedure had earlier been canceled would then be done, that it would unblock whatever was blocked, and that she would be allowed to return to work. Jad Swingle, a doctor completing his specialty training in cardiology, led Ms. Gora through the crowded waiting room and into an examining room. She clutched a slip of paper with words she had translated from Polish using her pocket dictionary: 'dizzy,' 'groin,' 'perspiration.' Dr. Swingle asked her questions, speaking slowly. Do you ever get chest discomfort? Do you get short of breath when you walk? She finally interrupted: 'Doctor, I don't know what I have, why I was in hospital. What is this heart attack? I don't know why I have this. What I have to do to not repeat this?' No one had explained these things, Ms. Gora believed. Or, she wondered, had she not understood? She perched on the examining table, ankles crossed, reduced by the setting to an oversize, obedient child. Dr. Swingle examined her, then said he would answer her questions 'in a way you'll understand.' He set about explaining heart attacks: the narrowed artery, the blockage, the partial muscle death. Ms. Gora looked startled. 'My muscle is dead?' she asked. Dr. Swingle nodded. What about the procedure that was never done? 'I'm not sure an angiogram would help you,' he said. She needed to stop smoking, take her medications, walk for exercise, come back in a month. 'My muscle is still dead?' she asked again, incredulous. 'Once it's dead, it's dead,' Dr. Swingle said. 'There's no bringing it back to life.' Outside, Ms. Gora tottered toward the subway, 14 blocks away, on pink high-heeled sandals in 89-degree heat. 'My thinking is black,' she said, uncharacteristically glum. 'Now I worry. You know, you have hand? Now I have no finger.' If Mr. Miele's encounters with the health care profession in the first months after his heart attack were occasional and efficient, Ms. Gora's were the opposite. Whereas he saw his cardiologist just twice, Ms. Gora, burdened by complications, saw hers a half-dozen times. Meanwhile, her heart attack seemed to have shaken loose a host of other problems. A growth on her adrenal gland had turned up on a Bellevue CAT scan, prompting a visit to an endocrinologist. An old knee problem flared up; an orthopedist recommended surgery. An alarming purple rash on her leg led to a trip to a dermatologist. Because of the heart attack, she had been taken off hormone replacement therapy and was constantly sweating. She tore open a toe stepping into a pothole and needed stitches. Without money or connections, moderate tasks consumed entire days. One cardiology appointment coincided with a downpour that paralyzed the city. Ms. Gora was supposed to be at the hospital laboratory at 8 a.m. to have blood drawn and back at the clinic at 1 p.m. In between, she wanted to meet with her boss about her disability payments. She had a 4 p.m. appointment in Brooklyn for her knee. So at 7 a.m., she hobbled through the rain to the bus to the subway to another bus to Bellevue. She was waiting outside the laboratory when it opened. Then she took a bus uptown in jammed traffic, changed buses, descended into the subway at Grand Central Terminal, rode to Times Square, found service suspended because of flooding, climbed the stairs to 42nd Street, maneuvered through angry crowds hunting for buses and found another subway line. She reached her workplace an hour and a half after leaving Bellevue; if she had had the money she could have made the trip in 20 minutes by cab. Her boss was not there. So she returned to Bellevue and waited until 2:35 p.m. for her 1 o'clock appointment. As always, she asked Dr. Swingle to let her return to work. When he insisted she have a stress test first, a receptionist gave her the first available appointment - seven weeks away. Meanwhile, Ms. Gora was trying to stop smoking. She had quit in the hospital, then returned home to a husband and a neighbor who both smoked. To be helpful, Mr. Gora smoked in the shared kitchen next door. He was gone most of the day, working double shifts. Alone and bored, Ms. Gora started smoking again, then called Bellevue's free smoking cessation program and enrolled. For the next few months, she trekked regularly to 'the smoking department' at Bellevue. A counselor supplied her with nicotine patches and advice, not always easy for her to follow: stay out of the house; stay busy; avoid stress; satisfy oral cravings with, say, candy. The counselor suggested a support group, but Ms. Gora was too ashamed of her English to join. Even so, over time her tobacco craving waned. There was just one hitch: Ms. Gora was gaining weight. To avoid smoking, she was eating. Her work had been her exercise and now she could not work. Dr. Swingle suggested cardiac rehab, leaving it up to Ms. Gora to find a program and arrange it. Ms. Gora let it slide. As for her diet, she had vowed to stick to chicken, turkey, lettuce, tomatoes and low-fat cottage cheese. But she got tired of that. She began sneaking cookies when no one was looking - and no one was. She cooked separate meals for Mr. Gora, who was not inclined to change his eating habits. She made him meatballs with sauce, liver, soup from spare ribs. Then one day in mid-October, she helped herself to one of his fried pork chops, and was soon eating the same meals he was. As an alternative to eating cake while watching television, she turned to pistachios, and then ate a pound in a single sitting. Cruising the 99 Cent Wonder store in Williamsburg, where the freezers were filled with products like Budget Gourmet Rigatoni with Cream Sauce, she pulled down a small package of pistachios: two and a half servings, 13 grams of fat per serving. 'I can eat five of these,' she confessed, ignoring the nutrition label. Not servings. Bags. Heading home after a trying afternoon in the office of the apartment complex in Williamsburg, where the long-awaited apartment seemed perpetually just out of reach, Ms. Gora slipped into a bakery and emerged with a doughnut, her first since her heart attack. She found a park bench where she had once been accustomed to reading and smoking. Working her way through the doughnut, confectioners' sugar snowing onto her chest, she said ruefully, 'I miss my cigarette.' She wanted to return to work. She felt uncomfortable depending on Mr. Gora for money. She worried that she was becoming indolent and losing her English. Her disability payments, for which she needed a doctor's letter every month, came to just half her $331 weekly salary. Once, she spent hours searching for the right person at Bellevue to give her a letter, only to be told to come back in two days. The co-payments on her prescriptions came to about $80 each month. Unnerving computer printouts from the pharmacist began arriving: 'Maximum benefit reached.' She switched to her husband's health insurance plan. Twice, Bellevue sent bills for impossibly large amounts of money for services her insurance was supposed to cover. Both times she spent hours traveling into Manhattan to the hospital's business office to ask why she had been billed. Both times a clerk listened, made a phone call, said the bill was a mistake and told her to ignore it. When the stress test was finally done, Dr. Swingle said the results showed she was not well enough to return to full-time work. He gave her permission for part-time work, but her boss said it was out of the question. By November, her weight had climbed to 197 pounds from 185 in July. Her cholesterol levels were stubbornly high and her blood pressure was up, despite drugs for both. In desperation, Ms. Gora embarked upon a curious, heart-unhealthy diet clipped from a Polish-language newspaper. Day 1: two hardboiled eggs, one steak, one tomato, spinach, lettuce with lemon and olive oil. Another day: coffee, grated carrots, cottage cheese and three containers of yogurt. Yet another: just steak. Ms. Gora decided not to tell Dr. Swingle. 'I worry if he don't let me, I not lose the weight,' she said. Uneven Recoveries By spring, Mr. Miele's heart attack, remarkably, had left him better off. He had lost 34 pounds and was exercising five times a week and taking subway stairs two at a time. He had retired from his firm on the terms he wanted. He was working from home, billing $225 an hour. More money in less time, he said. His blood pressure and cholesterol were low. 'You're doing great,' Dr. Hayes had said. 'You're doing better than 99 percent of my patients.' Mr. Wilson's heart attack had been a setback. His heart function remained impaired, though improved somewhat since May. At one recent checkup, his blood pressure and his weight had been a little high. He still enjoyed fried shrimp on occasion but he took his medications diligently. He graduated from cardiac rehab with plans to join a health club with a pool. And he was looking forward to retirement. Ms. Gora's life and health were increasingly complex. With Dr. Swingle's reluctant approval, she returned to work in November. She had moved into the apartment in Williamsburg, which gave her a kitchen and a bathroom for the first time in seven years. But she began receiving menacing phone calls from a collection agency about an old bill her health insurance had not covered. Her husband, with double pneumonia, was out of work for weeks. She had her long-awaited knee surgery in January. But it left her temporarily unable to walk. Her weight hit 200 pounds. When the diet failed, she considered another consisting largely of fruit and vegetables sprinkled with an herbal powder. Her blood pressure and cholesterol remained ominously high. She had been warned that she was now a borderline diabetic. 'You're becoming a full-time patient, aren't you?' Dr. Swingle remarked.

Subject: Social Security
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 06:16:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The question of whether to support Social Security will be determined in Congress solely on the basis of whether voters will come to understand that the leaders in Congress hope to end the system entirely on grounds of ideology, and whether voters are willing to turn decisively away from those Representatives and Senators who wish to end Social Security. The matter will be decided politically, not economically.

Subject: The Dollar
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 06:05:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Remember that the dollar has risen against the Euro over the last 6 months, and given sluggish European growth the dollar may hold in value for months more. The dollar is stable against the Yen, and weakness in Japan will likely keep this stability. The question then increasingly comes to what will happen to the Chinese currency tie to the dollar?

Subject: Re: The Dollar
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 10:05:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Terri. The real question for the dollar is how is doing with regard to purchasing the staples of life and, despite its recent strength, what is its future. Remember 2004 - 1st half of the year the dollar strengthened and the second half it weakened. Think about what is likely to be fiscal and monetary policy over the next 4 years and how that will impact the dollar. Wherever the dollar is headed it won't get there in a straight line.

Subject: Hedge Fund Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 06:00:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Though the returns for hedge funds are more difficult to come by, there is evidence that hedge fund after cost returns as a whole have also trailed index fund returns these last 5 years. Hedge fund assets are well over a trillion dollars, and as the asset level has grown so markedly in recent years it has to be increasingly difficult for costly hedge funds to return more than market indexes.

Subject: Portfolio Balance Over time
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 05:45:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What is interesting to note is how much safety bond funds can give a portfolio of investments. Also, if the returns of stock and bond funds are extended over 10 years we find fine returns for both the S&P Stock Index and the Vanguard Long Term Bond Index. But looking to Vanguard index fund returns over extended periods should also remind us that the body of mutual funds trails the returns of low cost and efficient index funds, so mutual fund investors as a whole significantly lag Vanguard index fund returns.

Subject: Re: Portfolio Balance Over time
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 10:15:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
It's crucial to understand what conditions affect the performance of bond funds as well as stock funds. If you focus on these conditions and think about the risk/reward situation of the so called 'balanced portfolio' under present conditons, you can begin to understand why Buffet remains in a large 'cash' position.

Subject: Re: Portfolio Balance Over time
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 11:51:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thinking ahead, I do agree there are important constraints on bonds. Thinking back, I could not be happier with the way Vanguard's long term bond funds have preformed.

Subject: Value?
From: Pete Weis
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 10:55:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Talking Value With Tweedy's Bob Wyckoff By Gregg Greenberg TheStreet.com Staff Reporter 5/3/2005 7:09 AM EDT URL: http://www.thestreet.com/funds/gregggreenberg/10221131.html The more money that flows into a mutual fund, the more fees the fund company gets. That's why it's surprising when firms close funds that are beating their benchmarks. In the case of deep value shop Tweedy Browne, this Wednesday the managers are shuttering their signature Tweedy Browne Global Value and Tweedy Browne American Value funds to new investors. They're doing this even though the $6.7 billion global fund is up 2.62% this year, 5.5 percentage points ahead of the MSCI EAFE index, and the $660 million American fund is down 4.61%, 41 basis points ahead of the S&P 500. Why close funds that are doing so well? In this case, Tweedy says it's making the move simply because stocks are 'fully valued.' Bob Wyckoff, one of Tweedy's five managing directors, discussed the firm's thinking with TheStreet.com. He also let us know what it would take to open the funds to the public again. What's behind the decision to close your funds? The reason is that it's getting tougher and tougher to find stocks that qualify with our rigorous valuation criteria. Since the bursting of the tech bubble, a lot of the money that was in tech and telecom has shifted into 'old economy,' or value, stocks. The result has been that the formerly high-priced stocks got cheaper and the previously low-priced stocks became more expensive. Today there is a compression of valuation in the marketplace, which means there is not a big difference between higher priced growth and the so-called value stocks. The compression has occurred at a valuation level that is not insane, just full from our point of view. What P/E levels are you talking about? What do you mean by full? Everybody has their own valuation levels. But back in 2000 when the bubble burst, the median P/E for the S&P was around 13. The median means that if you rank the 500 stocks and pick the one in the middle, it would have a P/E of 13 or 14. But while the median P/E was around 13, you also had some insane valuations in the tech sector -- like Cisco (CSCO:Nasdaq) at over 140 times earnings -- which were bringing up the overall P/E of the market to between 25 and 30. That meant that half the index was pretty cheap. With the resurgence in value stocks and with the collapse of tech and telecom, we now have a median P/E that is closer to 18 times earnings. That means the deep value segment of the market has risen. And if you are like us and require a 30% to 40% discount from a cautious level of real world valuation, you just can't find stocks to buy. So the idea flow has come to a crawl and we have become net sellers of securities. Cash is building in the funds, upwards of 20%, and we feel that in this environment it would be irresponsible to keep our funds open.

Subject: Re: Value?
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 11:28:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Interesting and important article. I agree completely, and have been adjusting.

Subject: Comparing Stock and Bond
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, May 16, 2005 at 05:43:56 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship5.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName A 5 year return for the S&P Stock Index that is -3.0% a year is difficult enough before inflation is counted. This return includes dividend payments and is for the period from April 30, 2000 to April 30, 2005. The 5 year return of 10.4% for the Vanguard Long Term Investment-Grade Bond Fund represents the largest such bond to stock difference for a 5 year period since 1950. I have not looked at periods before 1950.

Subject: The Evolution of Reluctant Capitalists
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, May 15, 2005 at 21:37:21 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/realestate/15cov.html?pagewanted=all&position= The Evolution of Reluctant Capitalists By JOSH BARBANEL WEST VILLAGE HOUSES was once the ugly duckling of Greenwich Village, a huge postwar project of 42 brick walk-ups that look squat and plain among the imposing 19th-century warehouses and brownstones. The architecture is so unremarkable that the project was recently redlined out of a proposed West Village historic district. But now this subsidized housing development, put up at a time when much of the West Village was considered the haunt of criminals and prostitutes, is being transformed into a real estate swan, a co-op just down the street from some of the most expensive real estate in the city. In the next decade or so, it may turn many of its middle-income renters into millionaires. At a time when tenants of other middle-income projects worry about being forced out of their apartments by landlords looking to make a killing, the West Village Houses may be the ultimate tenant success story, in which tenant activism, political organizing and an unexpected stroke of luck - along with more than $40 million in city subsidies - saved the day. But as many of these lifelong Greenwich Village tenant-activists contemplate a future as bourgeois property owners, the unity that helped bond the tenants has begun to crack. Former friends pass each other on the street without making eye contact. Dissidents are bitterly angry about election rules that they say were stacked against them. Supporters of the plan are worried that the deal of their dreams could be derailed at any moment. It's a 'pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,' said one message on the tenants' Web discussion group. 'No Deal is Perfect, Get a Grip, Stop Bellyaching and Start dancing in the Streets.' Although the plan is likely to be approved, there is still dissension. Renters occupying three-bedroom apartments, most with private gardens or cathedral ceilings, have threatened to sue, saying their proposed allocation of co-op shares - and thus their (below-market) purchase price and maintenance - is too high. And a rump group of tenants, some of whom are uncomfortable joining the ranks of owners of luxury apartments, fret about the way negotiations were conducted, the details of the deal and whether the purchase price could have been lower, allowing more tenants to buy, as well as what will happen to those who can't buy. Matthew Horovitz, a television producer for the National Basketball Association, is so worried about the opposition that he is running for the tenant association board for the first time. 'People are extremely anxious that petty obstructionist concerns might screw up an opportunity of a lifetime,' he said. He is thrilled at the thought of buying. 'It would be an ecstatic, once in a lifetime experience to buy this apartment at this price,' he said. Mr. Horovitz may soon be able to buy his two-bedroom apartment on West Street facing the Hudson River for about $170,000, just down the street from Morton Square, a new riverfront development where the asking price on a two-bedroom apartment with a view is about $2.7 million. He moved into the project with his mother when he was 12, when the development opened in 1976. Harry Lewis, a psychologist and former downtown poet, said he was born 'a red diaper baby,' raised by socialist parents, and still yearns to keep the old sense of community that once permeated the West Village Houses. 'We started out trying to keep this viable, friendly middle- and working-class community intact,' he said. 'It has pretty much split around four or five different factions, mostly based on the money you can make owning your apartment.' He said that once the possibility arose of buying apartments that could later be sold at market rates, members of the tenants association who raised questions about the deal were shut out of negotiations- a point that is in dispute. Still, Mr. Lewis, who lives in a three-bedroom duplex apartment with his wife, Estelle Press, a nurse midwife who teaches at the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing of the City University of New York, and their 14-year-old daughter, is considering buying, as are many who have raised questions about the deal. 'I am not opposed to people making money, I have matured beyond that point,' he said. 'But you are seeing a bunch of people who have gotten a windfall, and people are tearing at each other.' The deal, which is still pending before the state attorney general's office, is complex. But essentially it would allow tenants to buy their apartments far below market prices - as little as $165,000 for a typical two-bedroom apartment, and $330,000 for three-bedroom duplex apartments with private gardens or cathedral ceilings. If sold at market prices, the apartments would be $800 to $1,200 a square foot, or about $1.5 million for a three-bedroom, brokers said. Owners would be able to resell at gradually higher prices. After 12 years, they could sell to anyone, at full-market prices. A large flip tax, between 15 and 25 percent of the gain, would help pay off a city mortgage. Tenants unable or unwilling to buy would be protected by below-market rent-stabilized rents for 12 years. They could buy later, but at higher prices. The changes in the complex are happening at a time when the western edge of the West Village, with the cachet of the new Richard Meier towers and the new Hudson River Park, is in huge demand. 'Everyone wants to be there,' said Jill Meilus, a broker for the Corcoran Group. Even walk-ups can command a high price. A small but fully renovated one-bedroom apartment on Charles Street, up five flights of stairs, recently went to contract near the asking price of $820,000, in two days. Those who buy during the initial offering period can resell them three months later for nearly 17 percent more, and then another 11 percent more each year. With the apartments selling far below their market value, getting bank loans should be easy, brokers say. 'At $165,000, you would have to have a pulse to get a mortgage,' said Darren Sukenik, a broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman. West Village Houses wasn't always such a sure thing. It was the troubled offspring of a protest movement against urban renewal in the West Village led by Jane Jacobs, the writer and critic on urban life. In the early 1960's, a plan to demolish a 14-square-block swath of the West Village and replace small stores and warehouses with high-rise buildings was stopped by community protests. And over the next decade, a community group, the West Village Committee, set out to design and build subsidized apartments imbued with Ms. Jacobs's ideas of urban life, on the site of a portion of the High Line elevated rail structure. The buildings were to be co-ops, 420 apartments built in five- or six-story walk-ups, where neighbors could get to know one another while walking up the stairs. Many of the buildings, on six separate sites between Morton Street and Bank Street near the river, had communal gardens in the rear. But the project was delayed, and by time it got started, costs had risen and there were cutbacks. A plan for floor-to-ceiling windows, and an exposed concrete frame, was replaced by plain flat brick fronts with small windows. When the project was completed in 1974 and put on the market, the economy was sluggish. Four-bedroom apartments were $10,000, and they didn't sell. The city foreclosed and turned the project over to a private sponsor as a rental development. The building was run under the state's Mitchell-Lama Housing Program, in which sponsors agreed to limit rents and their profit in exchange for low-cost financing and tax abatements for at least 20 years. Tenants had to meet strict income guidelines but were allowed to stay on after their incomes rose, if they paid a surcharge of up to 50 percent on their rents. In the last 20 years, scores of projects in other parts of the city have been moved out of the program, each creating a potential crisis for the subsidized tenants living there, as, in most cases, their legal rent protections came to an end. So in 2002, when the project's owner, a group headed by Andrew Farkas, a scion of the Alexander's department store family, who is the former chairman and chief operating officer of the Insignia Financial Group, sent the tenants a letter announcing a plan to take the housing out of Mitchell-Lama, the tenants were ready. Katie Bordonaro, a Latin teacher at the Village Community School who was president of the tenants association and went on to lead the co-op negotiations, said she and other tenant leaders spent years organizing, raising money and talking to city officials, because they knew that at some point their landlord would probably want to leave the Mitchell-Lama program. 'We figured we should be prepared and know who the politicians are,' she said. 'We had $50,000 in the bank from dues and contributions for legal fees.' She had even led the unsuccessful effort to block the construction of new luxury housing now known as Morton Square as a threat to affordable housing in the neighborhood. Many tenants feared the worst, a doubling or tripling of rents or even evictions, because the land would be worth so much with the buildings demolished. Mr. Farkas and his associates declined to comment about the negotiations, but in their first letter to tenants announcing their withdrawal from the subsidy program, they indicated that they were willing to negotiate. Eventually what appeared to be a firm, but difficult, deal was negotiated among the owner, the city and Ms. Bordonaro and the tenants' lead lawyer, Carole Ule, to sell the property to the tenants for co-op conversion. The cost was steep. The tenants agreed to pay $126 million for the project, which had two mortgages totaling $93 million on record, and the city agreed to forgive $19 million in interest that the owner eventually would have had to repay. To make it more affordable, the city agreed to provide a tax abatement worth about $1.5 million a year for 12 years and eliminate all interest on a $12 million city mortgage for up to 30 years. Those who didn't buy would see their rents rise immediately by 48 percent, while buyers would have to pay high maintenance costs, $2,400 a month for a three-bedroom. Some of the maintenance fees would go to a special fund to cover the rent increases due for low-income tenants. Then, everything changed. Last fall, while lawyers were working on the co-op conversion papers, they discovered that the project's owners had taken a city tax abatement, under a program known as J-51. But this program requires that rental units be protected by rent stabilization. When Ms. Ule and Ms. Bordonaro quietly raised the issue with the owners, the owners said they were unaware that their managers had filed for the J-51 benefit, and they disputed the validity. Frank Marino, a spokesman for Mr. Farkas, said that 'the owner did not become aware' of the tax abatement until last November, long after the first agreement. In a second round of negotiations, Mr. Farkas's group dropped the price by $10 million. The 48 percent rent increases were eliminated. Apartment prices were cut 5 percent and maintenance on three-bedrooms was cut 30 percent. Suddenly apartments that seemed painfully expensive to middle-income people became more and more affordable. Despite the lower cost, the city maintained the same level of subsidies. City officials said most of the benefits it will provide to the co-op would have been given to the project if it had remained in the Mitchell-Lama program, and will be paid over many years, rather than all at once. 'This really is a landmark,' said Shaun Donovan, the commissioner of the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development. 'We have preserved affordable housing for at least the next decade, and that is a win for the administration, it is a win for the residents, and a win for the neighborhood.' To make the second deal possible, the tenants agreed to let Mr. Farkas's group buy the units that tenants do not buy, and resell up to 51 of them at market prices without flip taxes or limits on prices. This reduced the size of the co-op's mortgage and lowered maintenance but allowed the owner to make a significant potential profit on these units. Many tenants hail Ms. Bordonaro as the savior who through her dedication and persistence preserved their home. But throughout the negotiations, some members of the tenant board complained that talks were conducted in secret, and that neither board members nor tenants were kept informed about what was going on. Over the course of a few months, six members of the 13-member board resigned. 'Many of us believed we could have gotten a much better deal from the owners, but that is over now,' said Will Creed, an interior landscaper, who was vice president of the association and a member of the negotiating committee before he resigned in November. Mr. Creed and three other board members submitted a joint resignation letter, complaining that the first deal had sacrificed the interests of too many tenants who could not afford it. Later he learned that the tenant lawyer and board president had already discovered the J-51 and had begun making inquiries about it. His wife, Jessica Tomb, a business consultant on accounting software who was also a board member who resigned, said, 'We felt the board had morphed into being solely a sponsor organization and no longer represented all of the tenants.' Other tenants were mystified by how shares were allocated to different apartments. Residents of three-bedroom apartments complained that four-bedroom apartments, of roughly the same size but different configurations had much lower prices. Tenants in top-floor three-bedroom duplexes, who have cathedral ceilings but have to climb many stairs, complained that they were paying more than tenants of ground-floor duplexes that had private rear gardens. The allocations were made by Douglas Elliman, which was once owned by Mr. Farkas's company, and which managed the complex. But the methodology used was not disclosed in the co-op plan's preliminary filing, leading to continuing suspicion that politics were at play. 'I'm paying 2.3 times what a two-bedroom pays, and I have to walk up two more flights and I don't know why,' said Thomas Dercks, a former Wall Street executive. He noted that three board members, including Ms. Bordonaro, lived in three-bedroom apartments with gardens, while no board members lived on the upstairs three-bedrooms. But Ms. Bordonaro said that Douglas Elliman made the allocations without direction from the board and that board members who had resigned were upset because they had been consistently outvoted on the board. Negotiations over shares are continuing. New board elections are set for later this month, but only after lengthy and acrimonious debate over election procedures. Jules Demchick, the developer of Morton Square, the luxury high-rise fought by some residents of the West Village Houses, said the evolution of the militant tenants to owners is something to see. 'This is one to watch over time, it is a really a study in social science,' he said. 'People take a political position based on their current circumstance. As their circumstance changes, their position changes, along with the things they will be concerned about.'

Subject: Class in America
From: Emma
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Date Posted: Sun, May 15, 2005 at 11:48:49 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/national/class/OVERVIEW-FINAL.html?pagewanted=all Class in America: Shadowy Lines That Still Divide By JANNY SCOTT and DAVID LEONHARDT There was a time when Americans thought they understood class. The upper crust vacationed in Europe and worshiped an Episcopal God. The middle class drove Ford Fairlanes, settled the San Fernando Valley and enlisted as company men. The working class belonged to the A.F.L.-C.I.O., voted Democratic and did not take cruises to the Caribbean. Today, the country has gone a long way toward an appearance of classlessness. Americans of all sorts are awash in luxuries that would have dazzled their grandparents. Social diversity has erased many of the old markers. It has become harder to read people's status in the clothes they wear, the cars they drive, the votes they cast, the god they worship, the color of their skin. The contours of class have blurred; some say they have disappeared. But class is still a powerful force in American life. Over the past three decades, it has come to play a greater, not lesser, role in important ways. At a time when education matters more than ever, success in school remains linked tightly to class. At a time when the country is increasingly integrated racially, the rich are isolating themselves more and more. At a time of extraordinary advances in medicine, class differences in health and lifespan are wide and appear to be widening. And new research on mobility, the movement of families up and down the economic ladder, shows there is far less of it than economists once thought and less than most people believe. [Click here for more information on income mobility.] In fact, mobility, which once buoyed the working lives of Americans as it rose in the decades after World War II, has lately flattened out or possibly even declined, many researchers say. Mobility is the promise that lies at the heart of the American dream. It is supposed to take the sting out of the widening gulf between the have-mores and the have-nots. There are poor and rich in the United States, of course, the argument goes; but as long as one can become the other, as long as there is something close to equality of opportunity, the differences between them do not add up to class barriers. Over the next three weeks, The Times will publish a series of articles on class in America, a dimension of the national experience that tends to go unexamined, if acknowledged at all. With class now seeming more elusive than ever, the articles take stock of its influence in the lives of individuals: a lawyer who rose out of an impoverished Kentucky hollow; an unemployed metal worker in Spokane, Wash., regretting his decision to skip college; a multimillionaire in Nantucket, Mass., musing over the cachet of his 200-foot yacht. The series does not purport to be all-inclusive or the last word on class. It offers no nifty formulas for pigeonholing people or decoding folkways and manners. Instead, it represents an inquiry into class as Americans encounter it: indistinct, ambiguous, the half-seen hand that upon closer examination holds some Americans down while giving others a boost. The trends are broad and seemingly contradictory: the blurring of the landscape of class and the simultaneous hardening of certain class lines; the rise in standards of living while most people remain moored in their relative places. Even as mobility seems to have stagnated, the ranks of the elite are opening. Today, anyone may have a shot at becoming a United States Supreme Court justice or a C.E.O., and there are more and more self-made billionaires. Only 37 members of last year's Forbes 400, a list of the richest Americans, inherited their wealth, down from almost 200 in the mid-1980's. So it appears that while it is easier for a few high achievers to scale the summits of wealth, for many others it has become harder to move up from one economic class to another. Americans are arguably more likely than they were 30 years ago to end up in the class into which they were born. A paradox lies at the heart of this new American meritocracy. Merit has replaced the old system of inherited privilege, in which parents to the manner born handed down the manor to their children. But merit, it turns out, is at least partly class-based. Parents with money, education and connections cultivate in their children the habits that the meritocracy rewards. When their children then succeed, their success is seen as earned. The scramble to scoop up a house in the best school district, channel a child into the right preschool program or land the best medical specialist are all part of a quiet contest among social groups that the affluent and educated are winning in a rout. 'The old system of hereditary barriers and clubby barriers has pretty much vanished,' said Eric Wanner, president of the Russell Sage Foundation, a social science research group in New York City that recently published a series of studies on the social effects of economic inequality. In place of the old system, Dr. Wanner said, have arisen 'new ways of transmitting advantage that are beginning to assert themselves.' Faith in the System Most Americans remain upbeat about their prospects for getting ahead. A recent New York Times poll on class found that 40 percent of Americans believed that the chance of moving up from one class to another had risen over the last 30 years, a period in which the new research shows that it has not. Thirty-five percent said it had not changed, and only 23 percent said it had dropped. More Americans than 20 years ago believe it possible to start out poor, work hard and become rich. They say hard work and a good education are more important to getting ahead than connections or a wealthy background. 'I think the system is as fair as you can make it,' Ernie Frazier, a 65-year-old real estate investor in Houston, said in an interview after participating in the poll. 'I don't think life is necessarily fair. But if you persevere, you can overcome adversity. It has to do with a person's willingness to work hard, and I think it's always been that way.' Most say their standard of living is better than their parents' and imagine that their children will do better still. Even families making less than $30,000 a year subscribe to the American dream; more than half say they have achieved it or will do so. But most do not see a level playing field. They say the very rich have too much power, and they favor the idea of class-based affirmative action to help those at the bottom. Even so, most say they oppose the government's taxing the assets a person leaves at death. 'They call it the land of opportunity, and I don't think that's changed much,' said Diana Lackey, a 60-year-old homemaker and wife of a retired contractor in Fulton, N.Y., near Syracuse. 'Times are much, much harder with all the downsizing, but we're still a wonderful country.' The Attributes of Class One difficulty in talking about class is that the word means different things to different people. Class is rank, it is tribe, it is culture and taste. It is attitudes and assumptions, a source of identity, a system of exclusion. To some, it is just money. It is an accident of birth that can influence the outcome of a life. Some Americans barely notice it; others feel its weight in powerful ways. At its most basic, class is one way societies sort themselves out. Even societies built on the idea of eliminating class have had stark differences in rank. Classes are groups of people of similar economic and social position; people who, for that reason, may share political attitudes, lifestyles, consumption patterns, cultural interests and opportunities to get ahead. Put 10 people in a room and a pecking order soon emerges. When societies were simpler, the class landscape was easier to read. Marx divided 19th-century societies into just two classes; Max Weber added a few more. As societies grew increasingly complex, the old classes became more heterogeneous. As some sociologists and marketing consultants see it, the commonly accepted big three - the upper, middle and working classes - have broken down into dozens of microclasses, defined by occupations or lifestyles. A few sociologists go so far as to say that social complexity has made the concept of class meaningless. Conventional big classes have become so diverse - in income, lifestyle, political views - that they have ceased to be classes at all, said Paul W. Kingston, a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia. To him, American society is a 'ladder with lots and lots of rungs.' 'There is not one decisive break saying that the people below this all have this common experience,' Professor Kingston said. 'Each step is equal-sized. Sure, for the people higher up this ladder, their kids are more apt to get more education, better health insurance. But that doesn't mean there are classes.' Many other researchers disagree. 'Class awareness and the class language is receding at the very moment that class has reorganized American society,' said Michael Hout, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. 'I find these 'end of class' discussions naïve and ironic, because we are at a time of booming inequality and this massive reorganization of where we live and how we feel, even in the dynamics of our politics. Yet people say, 'Well, the era of class is over.' ' One way to think of a person's position in society is to imagine a hand of cards. Everyone is dealt four cards, one from each suit: education, income, occupation and wealth, the four commonly used criteria for gauging class. [Click here to see where you fit in the American population.] Face cards in a few categories may land a player in the upper middle class. At first, a person's class is his parents' class. Later, he may pick up a new hand of his own; it is likely to resemble that of his parents, but not always. Bill Clinton traded in a hand of low cards with the help of a college education and a Rhodes scholarship and emerged decades later with four face cards. Bill Gates, who started off squarely in the upper middle class, made a fortune without finishing college, drawing three aces. Many Americans say that they too have moved up the nation's class ladder. In the Times poll, 45 percent of respondents said they were in a higher class than when they grew up, while just 16 percent said they were in a lower one. Over all, 1 percent described themselves as upper class, 15 percent as upper middle class, 42 percent as middle, 35 percent as working and 7 percent as lower. 'I grew up very poor and so did my husband,' said Wanda Brown, the 58-year-old wife of a retired planner for the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard who lives in Puyallup, Wash., near Tacoma. 'We're not rich but we are comfortable and we are middle class and our son is better off than we are.' The American Ideal The original exemplar of American social mobility was almost certainly Benjamin Franklin, one of 17 children of a candle maker. About 20 years ago, when researchers first began to study mobility in a rigorous way, Franklin seemed representative of a truly fluid society, in which the rags-to-riches trajectory was the readily achievable ideal, just as the nation's self-image promised. In a 1987 speech, Gary S. Becker, a University of Chicago economist who would later win a Nobel Prize, summed up the research by saying that mobility in the United States was so high that very little advantage was passed down from one generation to the next. In fact, researchers seemed to agree that the grandchildren of privilege and of poverty would be on nearly equal footing. If that had been the case, the rise in income inequality beginning in the mid-1970's should not have been all that worrisome. The wealthy might have looked as if they were pulling way ahead, but if families were moving in and out of poverty and prosperity all the time, how much did the gap between the top and bottom matter? But the initial mobility studies were flawed, economists now say. Some studies relied on children's fuzzy recollections of their parents' income. Others compared single years of income, which fluctuate considerably. Still others misread the normal progress people make as they advance in their careers, like from young lawyer to senior partner, as social mobility. The new studies of mobility, which methodically track peoples' earnings over decades, have found far less movement. The economic advantage once believed to last only two or three generations is now believed to last closer to five. Mobility happens, just not as rapidly as was once thought. 'We all know stories of poor families in which the next generation did much better,' said Gary Solon, a University of Michigan economist who is a leading mobility researcher. 'It isn't that poor families have no chance.' But in the past, Professor Solon added, 'people would say, 'Don't worry about inequality. The offspring of the poor have chances as good as the chances of the offspring of the rich.' Well, that's not true. It's not respectable in scholarly circles anymore to make that argument.' One study, by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, found that fewer families moved from one quintile, or fifth, of the income ladder to another during the 1980's than during the 1970's and that still fewer moved in the 90's than in the 80's. A study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics also found that mobility declined from the 80's to the 90's. The incomes of brothers born around 1960 have followed a more similar path than the incomes of brothers born in the late 1940's, researchers at the Chicago Federal Reserve and the University of California, Berkeley, have found. Whatever children inherit from their parents - habits, skills, genes, contacts, money - seems to matter more today. Studies on mobility over generations are notoriously difficult, because they require researchers to match the earnings records of parents with those of their children. Some economists consider the findings of the new studies murky; it cannot be definitively shown that mobility has fallen during the last generation, they say, only that it has not risen. The data will probably not be conclusive for years. Nor do people agree on the implications. Liberals say the findings are evidence of the need for better early-education and antipoverty programs to try to redress an imbalance in opportunities. Conservatives tend to assert that mobility remains quite high, even if it has tailed off a little. But there is broad consensus about what an optimal range of mobility is. It should be high enough for fluid movement between economic levels but not so high that success is barely tied to achievement and seemingly random, economists on both the right and left say. As Phillip Swagel, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, put it, 'We want to give people all the opportunities they want. We want to remove the barriers to upward mobility.' Yet there should remain an incentive for parents to cultivate their children. 'Most people are working very hard to transmit their advantages to their children,' said David I. Levine, a Berkeley economist and mobility researcher. 'And that's quite a good thing.' One surprising finding about mobility is that it is not higher in the United States than in Britain or France. It is lower here than in Canada and some Scandinavian countries but not as low as in developing countries like Brazil, where escape from poverty is so difficult that the lower class is all but frozen in place. Those comparisons may seem hard to believe. Britain and France had hereditary nobilities; Britain still has a queen. The founding document of the United States proclaims all men to be created equal. The American economy has also grown more quickly than Europe's in recent decades, leaving an impression of boundless opportunity. But the United States differs from Europe in ways that can gum up the mobility machine. Because income inequality is greater here, there is a wider disparity between what rich and poor parents can invest in their children. Perhaps as a result, a child's economic background is a better predictor of school performance in the United States than in Denmark, the Netherlands or France, one recent study found. 'Being born in the elite in the U.S. gives you a constellation of privileges that very few people in the world have ever experienced,' Professor Levine said. 'Being born poor in the U.S. gives you disadvantages unlike anything in Western Europe and Japan and Canada.' Blurring the Landscape Why does it appear that class is fading as a force in American life? For one thing, it is harder to read position in possessions. Factories in China and elsewhere churn out picture-taking cellphones and other luxuries that are now affordable to almost everyone. Federal deregulation has done the same for plane tickets and long-distance phone calls. Banks, more confident about measuring risk, now extend credit to low-income families, so that owning a home or driving a new car is no longer evidence that someone is middle class. The economic changes making material goods cheaper have forced businesses to seek out new opportunities so that they now market to groups they once ignored. Cruise ships, years ago a symbol of the high life, have become the ocean-going equivalent of the Jersey Shore. BMW produces a cheaper model with the same insignia. Martha Stewart sells chenille jacquard drapery and scallop-embossed ceramic dinnerware at Kmart. 'The level of material comfort in this country is numbing,' said Paul Bellew, executive director for market and industry analysis at General Motors. 'You can make a case that the upper half lives as well as the upper 5 percent did 50 years ago.' Like consumption patterns, class alignments in politics have become jumbled. In the 1950's, professionals were reliably Republican; today they lean Democratic. Meanwhile, skilled labor has gone from being heavily Democratic to almost evenly split. People in both parties have attributed the shift to the rise of social issues, like gun control and same-sex marriage, which have tilted many working-class voters rightward and upper income voters toward the left. But increasing affluence plays an important role, too. When there is not only a chicken, but an organic, free-range chicken, in every pot, the traditional economic appeal to the working class can sound off key. Religious affiliation, too, is no longer the reliable class marker it once was. The growing economic power of the South has helped lift evangelical Christians into the middle and upper middle classes, just as earlier generations of Roman Catholics moved up in the mid-20th century. It is no longer necessary to switch one's church membership to Episcopal or Presbyterian as proof that one has arrived. 'You go to Charlotte, N.C., and the Baptists are the establishment,' said Mark A. Chaves, a sociologist at the University of Arizona. 'To imagine that for reasons of respectability, if you lived in North Carolina, you would want to be a Presbyterian rather than a Baptist doesn't play anymore.' The once tight connection between race and class has weakened, too, as many African-Americans have moved into the middle and upper middle classes. Diversity of all sorts - racial, ethnic and gender - has complicated the class picture. And high rates of immigration and immigrant success stories seem to hammer home the point: The rules of advancement have changed. The American elite, too, is more diverse than it was. The number of corporate chief executives who went to Ivy League colleges has dropped over the past 15 years. There are many more Catholics, Jews and Mormons in the Senate than there were a generation or two ago. Because of the economic earthquakes of the last few decades, a small but growing number of people have shot to the top. 'Anything that creates turbulence creates the opportunity for people to get rich,' said Christopher S. Jencks, a professor of social policy at Harvard. 'But that isn't necessarily a big influence on the 99 percent of people who are not entrepreneurs.' These success stories reinforce perceptions of mobility, as does cultural myth-making in the form of television programs like 'American Idol' and 'The Apprentice.' But beneath all that murkiness and flux, some of the same forces have deepened the hidden divisions of class. Globalization and technological change have shuttered factories, killing jobs that were once stepping-stones to the middle class. Now that manual labor can be done in developing countries for $2 a day, skills and education have become more essential than ever. This has helped produce the extraordinary jump in income inequality. The after-tax income of the top 1 percent of American households jumped 139 percent, to more than $700,000, from 1979 to 2001, according to the Congressional Budget Office, which adjusted its numbers to account for inflation. The income of the middle fifth rose by just 17 percent, to $43,700, and the income of the poorest fifth rose only 9 percent. For most workers, the only time in the last three decades when the rise in hourly pay beat inflation was during the speculative bubble of the 90's. Reduced pensions have made retirement less secure. Clearly, a degree from a four-year college makes even more difference than it once did. More people are getting those degrees than did a generation ago, but class still plays a big role in determining who does or does not. At 250 of the most selective colleges in the country, the proportion of students from upper-income families has grown, not shrunk. Some colleges, worried about the trend, are adopting programs to enroll more lower-income students. One is Amherst, whose president, Anthony W. Marx, explained: 'If economic mobility continues to shut down, not only will we be losing the talent and leadership we need, but we will face a risk of a society of alienation and unhappiness. Even the most privileged among us will suffer the consequences of people not believing in the American dream.' Class differences in health, too, are widening, recent research shows. Life expectancy has increased over all; but upper-middle-class Americans live longer and in better health than middle-class Americans, who live longer and in better health than those at the bottom. Class plays an increased role, too, in determining where and with whom affluent Americans live. More than in the past, they tend to live apart from everyone else, cocooned in their exurban chateaus. Researchers who have studied data from the 1980, 1990 and 2000 censuses say the isolation of the affluent has increased. Family structure, too, differs increasingly along class lines. The educated and affluent are more likely than others to have their children while married. They have fewer children and have them later, when their earning power is high. On average, according to one study, college-educated women have their first child at 30, up from 25 in the early 1970's. The average age among women who have never gone to college has stayed at about 22. Those widening differences have left the educated and affluent in a superior position when it comes to investing in their children. 'There is no reason to doubt the old saw that the most important decision you make is choosing your parents,' said Professor Levine, the Berkeley economist and mobility researcher. 'While it's always been important, it's probably a little more important now.' The benefits of the new meritocracy do come at a price. It once seemed that people worked hard and got rich in order to relax, but a new class marker in upper-income families is having at least one parent who works extremely long hours (and often boasts about it). In 1973, one study found, the highest-paid tenth of the country worked fewer hours than the bottom tenth. Today, those at the top work more. In downtown Manhattan, black cars line up outside Goldman Sachs's headquarters every weeknight around 9. Employees who work that late get a free ride home, and there are plenty of them. Until 1976, a limousine waited at 4:30 p.m. to ferry partners to Grand Central Terminal. But a new management team eliminated the late-afternoon limo to send a message: 4:30 is the middle of the workday, not the end. A Rags-to-Riches Faith Will the trends that have reinforced class lines while papering over the distinctions persist? The economic forces that caused jobs to migrate to low-wage countries are still active. The gaps in pay, education and health have not become a major political issue. The slicing of society's pie is more unequal than it used to be, but most Americans have a bigger piece than they or their parents once did. They appear to accept the tradeoffs. Faith in mobility, after all, has been consciously woven into the national self-image. Horatio Alger's books have made his name synonymous with rags-to-riches success, but that was not his personal story. He was a second-generation Harvard man, who became a writer only after losing his Unitarian ministry because of allegations of sexual misconduct. Ben Franklin's autobiography was punched up after his death to underscore his rise from obscurity. The idea of fixed class positions, on the other hand, rubs many the wrong way. Americans have never been comfortable with the notion of a pecking order based on anything other than talent and hard work. Class contradicts their assumptions about the American dream, equal opportunity and the reasons for their own successes and even failures. Americans, constitutionally optimistic, are disinclined to see themselves as stuck. Blind optimism has its pitfalls. If opportunity is taken for granted, as something that will be there no matter what, then the country is less likely to do the hard work to make it happen. But defiant optimism has its strengths. Without confidence in the possibility of moving up, there would almost certainly be fewer success stories.

Subject: Sugar Sugar
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, May 15, 2005 at 09:13:31 (EDT)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/business/15sugar.html?pagewanted=all Low Carbs? Who Cares? Sugar Is Latest Supermarket Demon By MELANIE WARNER Last summer, as the low-carbohydrate dieting craze began to fade, executives at Stonyfield Farms decided they had to make a change to their Moove Over Carbs yogurt. What they came up with was simple and painless: In January, they pulled Moove Over Carbs from the shelves, and this month, Moove Over Sugar takes its place. Except for the name, the product remains exactly the same - sugars are, after all, also carbs. Both yogurts contain a sugar substitute and have at least 40 percent fewer calories than Stonyfield Farm's regular flavored varieties. Low-sugar has become the new low-carb. Food makers are rushing to meet demand from consumers concerned with their waistlines and healthier eating by providing an array of new products, some of them aimed at children. But scientists are divided over how positive this development is, questioning whether the change will help people lose weight, and how healthful the artificial sweeteners are. According to a survey done by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, a food industry trade group, almost 50 percent of all grocery shoppers said they were looking for products with reduced sugar. 'Carbs was a trend, but the concern about sugar is here to stay,' said Cathleen Toomey, vice president of communications at Stonyfield Farms, which is owned by Groupe Danone of France. Just about every major food company is thinking along these lines. Among the new products being offered are Pepperidge Farm Sugar Free Milano cookies, Arnold Smart & Healthy Sugar Free bread and General Mills 75% Less Sugar Cocoa Puffs. Propelled in part by the popularity of the sugar substitute sucralose, or Splenda, the food industry last year introduced 2,225 sugarless or sugar-reduced products in the United States, according to the research firm Productscan Online. This figure is more than double that of two years ago and represents 11 percent of all new products in 2004. By contrast, in 2004, the height of the low-carb boom, there were 3,375 products introduced, accounting for 19 percent of all new products that year, according to Productscan. This year, low-carb product introductions from January through April were down 25 percent from the same period last year. Last week, ACNielsen identified both organic and low or no sugar as the two 'good for you' food segments that will get products noticed by consumers and generate the strongest sales growth. Many of these new low-sugar products are not just the old standbys like diet sodas and sugarless gum, but foods and drinks like cereals, fruit juices, cookies, bread, ice cream, flavored milk, pasta sauce, maple syrup and even bottled water. A few of these products, like Kellogg's 1/3 Less Sugar Froot Loops and Frosted Flakes cereals, and Mott's Healthy Harvest apple sauce, simply have less added sugar and taste less sweet. But most are made with one or more of the half-dozen no-calorie artificial sweeteners on the market and are designed to taste much like the original. While many nutritionists champion artificial sweeteners as a way to cut calories and reduce sugar, others say these products are not the answer to America's weight and health problems. Some critics voice concern about the increased consumption of what are essentially chemical sweeteners, especially among children. New low-sugar products, like breakfast cereal and fruit juice sweetened with Splenda and vanilla milk with neotame, a new intensely sweet sugar replacement, are consumed heavily by children. Dr. Susan Schiffman, a sweetener specialist and professor of medical psychology at Duke University Medical Center, says she has safety concerns about sucralose, which is the nation's fastest-growing sugar replacement, according to the Freedonia Group, a research firm. She points to the Food and Drug Administration's 1998 report giving approval for sucralose, which said the compound is 'weakly mutagenic in a mouse lymphoma mutation assay,' meaning it caused minor genetic damages in mouse cells. The report also said one of the substances produced when sucralose is broken down in the body is 'weakly mutagenic in the Ames test.' An Ames test is the standard method used to detect possible carcinogens. 'The sucralose people keep saying 'It's just a little bit of a mutagen,' ' Dr. Schiffman said. 'Well, I don't want a little bit of a mutagen in my food supply. How do you know what happens in a long life span or to the next generation or to your eggs and sperm? I don't feel like the issues have been answered.' McNeil Nutritionals, a division of Johnson & Johnson that sells Splenda, says that the safety of sucralose has been confirmed in more than 100 studies done over the last 20 years, and that it has been approved for use by regulatory agencies around the world. Over the years, sweeteners like saccharin and aspartame have also prompted various safety concerns. Other critics of artificial sweeteners focus their concerns on whether these foods and beverages actually help people lose weight or improve their diets. According to a consumer survey done last year by the Calorie Control Council, a trade group representing the low-calorie and reduced-fat food and beverage industry, people use sugar-reduced products primarily to 'stay in overall better health' and 'reduce calories.' Dr. Stuart Fischer, who worked for nine years with the low-carb diet specialist Dr. Robert Atkins and now runs his own nutrition practice in Manhattan, contends that artificial sweeteners do nothing for a person's 'overall health' because they perpetuate cravings for sweet foods. 'They remind dieters about the taste of the forbidden fruit,' Dr. Fischer said. 'Does Alcoholics Anonymous recommend alcohol-free beer? Of course not.' Dr. Fischer said he counsels patients to cut out all sweet foods from their diet to eliminate sugar cravings, which he says can lay the groundwork for Type II diabetes. Dr. David Katz, a nutrition specialist and professor of public health at the Yale University School of Medicine, says that in his 15 years of treating patients he has observed that people who consume a lot of artificially sweetened foods also end up eating an excess of foods loaded with regular sugar, negating any savings in calories. 'If you're exposed to sweet foods and drinks often, the threshold for satisfaction goes up,' Dr. Katz said. As in many areas of science, research findings on the issue are mixed. While some studies, such as one done last year at Purdue University, support the ideas of people like Dr. Katz and Dr. Fischer, other, longer-term research has shown that people who consume artificially sweetened, no-calorie beverages do lose more weight than those drinking regular, full-calorie sodas. Yet almost all of these studies have looked at zero-calorie diet drinks, not low-sugar foods like Sugar Free Milano cookies and 50% Less Sugar Quaker Instant Oatmeal, which still have calories. Some of these products, in fact, have as many calories as the original, making things confusing for the consumer. According to information displayed on box labels, 1/3 Less Sugar Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops, 75% Less Sugar Cocoa Puffs and Trix, and 50% Less Sugar Fruity Pebbles cereals are not significantly lower in calories than the original versions. Neither are Sugar Free Milanos or Arnold Smart & Healthy Sugar Free bread. Christine M. Homsey, a senior research food scientist at Food Perspectives, a consulting firm in Plymouth, Minn., explained that because sugar provides bulk, manufacturers add more flour or other grains to make up for the loss, putting calories back in. In March, a woman in San Diego who said she thought the reduced-sugar cereals she bought for her children were lower in calories sued Kellogg, General Mills and Kraft Foods, saying that the companies used misleading marketing to sell the products. The confusion over calorie counts and whether sugar-free foods will really help individuals lose weight has not deterred consumers from buying $1 billion worth of low-sugar products in the last year. According to ACNielsen LabelTrends, sales of ready-to-eat, less-sugar cereal jumped 63 percent in the last 52 weeks, and revenue from the expanding universe of all low-sugar products is up 133 percent from a year ago. Eager to meet this growing demand, food companies are working furiously to devise even better ways of replicating the taste and function of sugar in food. All current sugar substitutes have aftertastes and other flaws that distinguish them from sugar, food scientists say. Many food specialists attribute Splenda's runaway success to its sugar-like taste, but they say that it, too, falls short. 'The holy grail remains elusive,' said Kantha Shelke, a food scientist who has worked for food manufacturers like Pillsbury and Interstate Bakeries. 'The perfect sweetener would be something that looks like sugar and acts like sugar in every way, except when you metabolize it.' Despite the concerns of some scientists and doctors about artificial sweeteners, the trend of low-sugar foods and beverages shows no signs of slowing. While stores like Whole Foods do not stock products that contain artificial sweeteners, a majority of consumers have welcomed these food additives into their diets. Katherine Tallmadge, a registered dietician in Washington, said she did not encourage her patients to use artificial sweeteners, but some do anyway. 'People are hooked on sweets and they want to eat sweet foods without the calories,' Ms. Tallmadge said. 'It's a classic case of wanting your cake and eating it too.'

Subject: Troubles at Mexico's Oil Monopoly
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, May 15, 2005 at 09:02:07 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/international/americas/15pemex.html?pagewanted=all Accidents Reveal Troubles at Mexico's Oil Monopoly By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr. and ELISABETH MALKIN MEXICO CITY - Juan González Durán, who like nearly everyone in Nanchital works for Pemex, the state-owned oil monopoly, had no doubt about who was responsible for his brother's death last month when a work crew cut into the wrong pipeline and six men died in a blast of ammonia gas. Mr. González blamed a Pemex engineer who had been overseeing the job but left just before the accident. 'I was a worker for Pemex for years, and I worked on deep-sea platforms, and there I could tell you many bad things that the engineers would do, that they would not pay attention to the work,' he said. 'It makes me sick.' Mr. González is not the only one fed up in this region, the heart of the oil and petrochemical industry. The blast that killed his brother and five other workers was the latest in more than 12 pipeline accidents to befall Pemex since October. The spills have focused Mexico's attention on what even company officials acknowledge is an old and poorly maintained network of pipelines. About a third of the network is more than 30 years old, and some pumping equipment is so antiquated that the company cannot find spare parts, Pemex officials say. But the recent spate of accidents also highlights the complicated symbiotic relationship between the company and the government that is supposed to regulate it. Pemex provides the government with 40 percent of its income, and the environmental agency charged with policing the oil company is woefully underfinanced. This year, Pemex's authorized budget for maintenance is almost $1 billion less than it needs, Luis Ramírez Corzo, who became Pemex's director general last December, has said. Lawmakers control Pemex's budget, and it pays some two-thirds of its revenue in taxes. Despite record high oil prices that increased revenues to $69 billion last year, Pemex, short for Petróleos Mexicanos, reported a loss of $1.3 billion. Pemex officials complain that the government mainly uses the oil industry to finance the rest of its spending and puts too little money into infrastructure and maintenance. Environmentalists say the company's sins, including padded payrolls and oil spills, go unpunished because its enormous importance to the nation's coffers gives it unparalleled political power. In particular, the federal environmental enforcement agency, known as Profepa, has proved toothless when policing Pemex facilities, they say. 'It's a fact that Profepa is very limited, it definitely follows the party line, they can't touch Pemex much,' said Francisco Villagrán Ballesteros, a lawyer who has sued Pemex officials over the recent spills. The Profepa chief, José Luis Luege, has been reduced to making threats he cannot carry out. On Thursday, he held a news conference to demand that Pemex repair 35 problem pipelines, but he acknowledged that it would cost $770 million. Pemex says it has money to repair just seven. Mr. Luege acknowledged that any decision to shut down a major pipeline - and halt a refinery - would probably have to be made by the president. To many Mexicans who can recall catastrophic Pemex accidents in the recent past, the company is synonymous with a callous disregard for safety and the environment. In 1986, a liquefied petroleum gas terminal blew up outside Mexico City, killing more than 500. Six years later, a pipeline explosion in Guadalajara killed more than 200 people. Since then, the company has worked to upgrade safety and maintenance, its officials say. It has opened its installations to government inspectors and Pemex executives now submit to public questions and rebukes in Congress. But the spills in Veracruz suggest that the company has a long way to go to repair decades of neglect along its 38,000 miles of pipelines. Mr. Ramírez Corzo said Pemex needed to spend $12.3 billion on maintenance through 2008, a third of that on upgrading pipelines. 'This is the crude reality,' Mr. Ramírez Corzo said in April at a Senate hearing on the Veracruz accidents. 'This is the company we have got, not the company we would like to have.' Last Dec. 22, the lack of maintenance that Mr. Ramírez Corzo has complained about led to a huge spill, one of the worst in years. At least 5,000 barrels of crude erupted from a ruptured pipe in Nanchital, flooded nearby fields, coated the Coatzacoalcos River and ended up on the beaches. The spill could have been foretold, officials acknowledge. That section of the pipeline was identified as weak in 1997, but the first contractor hired to repair it was incompetent and abandoned the job, Pemex officials said. The pipeline was later patched but never replaced. Then a turbine pump that should have been replaced a dozen years ago broke down, causing a leak and then a fire, Mr. Ramírez Corzo told lawmakers. Changes in pressure in the pipeline caused it to rupture where it emerges from the ground near the river. 'Our infrastructure has started to become old and tired,' said José Manuel Olivares Páez, a Pemex official in charge of the oil pipelines. 'There are always risks but the key is to evaluate periodically that your pipelines are secure. There are many points where they are not secure.' But Pemex says it cannot fix all those weak spots. While the government keeps tight control over Pemex's budget, its ability to watch over Pemex's compliance with environmental and safety regulations is hindered by a tiny budget and weak laws. Profepa, an acronym for the federal prosecutor's office for environmental protection, employs just 150 industrial inspectors nationally, and Pemex has 2000 installations to check, said José Ramón Ardavín Ituarte, the deputy prosecutor for industrial inspection. The pipeline from Nuevo Teapa to Poza Rica that burst last December had long been earmarked as a risk, but Pemex had promised to make improvements. 'We knew there was a risk there, but we could not do anything,' said Gerardo A. Alvarado Salinas, Profepa's director general for inspection of pollution sources. 'The law does not allow us to take preventive action. I cannot close this pipeline because tomorrow there might be a spill. I have to wait until there is a spill.' After an accident, environmental officials' tools are limited, because the law sets low fines. (Since 2001, Pemex has paid less than $5 million in penalties.) And prosecuting officials in connection with negligence is the responsibility of the attorney general's office, which has shown little appetite for taking on the company. In five years, the government has carried out one prosecution. The accident in Nanchital in April released a plume of ammonia gas, estimated at 60 liquid tons, killed six workers in the excavation, blackened trees and plants for hundreds of yards and forced the evacuation of at least 900 people. It took two days to retrieve the bodies. Just up the road from the site, family members waited grimly. The dead men left behind wives and children with little or no money. Most had been working for the subcontractor, Reparaciones Navales de Petroquímica, for only a few months. On May 4, Pemex gave $74,500 in all to the families of the six men, although it said it might be ordered to pay more in the future. Pemex officials have tried to divert blame, saying the subcontractor cut into the wrong pipe after a supervising engineer left to check on the location of the right one. But family members asked why the workers had no protective suits. 'They put him in there to work without any protection,' said Victor Armas Mayo, 56, whose 30-year-old son, Daniel Armas, was killed. 'I don't know how Pemex allowed this.' A half mile away, Angel Martínez, who also works for Pemex, was fishing in the Coatzacoalcos River just a hundred yards from the site of the spill last December. Over the last four months, Pemex hired crews of former fishermen and brought in heavy machinery to remove more than 10,000 tons of contaminated soil and pile it at four sites along the river. But Mr. Luege said on Thursday that Pemex had not finished and ordered the company to remove the soil before the rainy season begins next month. The fish are back, as are the pelicans and gulls. But worries that it will happen again remain. 'They are very deteriorated, the pipelines here, and the company hasn't done anything,' Mr. Martínez, 34, said, looking back at the pump station. 'People are worried. This is not the first time.'

Subject: Who's Preying on Your Grandparents?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, May 15, 2005 at 08:32:51 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/business/yourmoney/15vict.html?pagewanted=all Who's Preying on Your Grandparents? By GRETCHEN MORGENSON BACK in February, Jose and Gloria Aquino received a flier in the mail inviting them to a free seminar on one of their favorite topics: protecting their financial assets. As retirees, they were always on the lookout for safe investment strategies as well as tips on how to make sure they didn't outlive their savings. Besides, the flier promised a free lunch for anyone attending the workshop, so what did they have to lose? Potentially plenty, they would soon discover. On March 1, Mr. and Mrs. Aquino stepped into the Coral House restaurant, not far from their home in North Baldwin, N.Y., on Long Island. They found themselves surrounded by about 50 like-minded retirees, most in their 70's and 80's, they said. Over lunch, the crowd listened to a presentation by two investment executives from Diversified Concepts Inc. of Manhattan. Using charts and graphs, the men gave advice on how to invest wisely during retirement. Then they passed out forms and asked the retirees to list all their assets and financial holdings. The Aquinos filled out theirs and left. Two days later, they said, one of the executives came to their home and described an investment with the American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company that would provide 7 percent interest on their money - immediately. 'When somebody tells you he will give you a 7 percent upfront bonus on your money and that you'll get that 7 percent even if the market goes down, you get interested,' said Mr. Aquino. He said he signed the necessary documents and the executive left, handing a brochure to the couple. That evening, the Aquinos told their daughter, Caroline, about their investment. 'She said, 'Oh, don't invest like that before searching farther,' ' Mr. Aquino recalled. 'Then she went on the Internet and found these lawsuits going on in California against the company and we realized that we were not making a good decision.' The investment the Aquinos had chosen was an annuity, an insurance product that not only tends to carry high fees but also requires that most of the money stay locked up for years, making it especially inappropriate for many older investors, regulators say. In fact, the one they bought carried a staggering 17.5 percent surrender charge if it was cashed in during the first year, their daughter explained. Exit charges were not scheduled to disappear until 17 years after the purchase. This meant that Mr. Aquino, who is 65, and Mrs. Aquino, 63, could not cash in the annuity without paying a surrender fee until they were in their 80's. The executive had not told them about the lockup requirement, the Aquinos said, although the brochure he left with them described the fees in small print. Thanks to their daughter, they were able to phone the company in time to cancel their purchase. Others, however, have wound up stuck in an investment that they cannot liquidate without severe penalties. Meetings like the one attended by the Aquinos take place thousands of times a year in restaurants, American Legion halls and senior centers across the nation - and are a growing problem, securities regulators say. The seminars are usually described as a way for retirees to receive free advice on estate planning, asset protection and tax reduction. After a short presentation, the attendees are approached by a sales representative, who almost invariably encourages them to liquidate their stocks, bonds and 401(k)'s and to buy an annuity. 'We started getting all these complaints from children of seniors who found out that their stock portfolios or other investments had been transferred into these annuities,' said Joseph A. Ragazzo, deputy attorney general of California. 'We see this investment abuse as a real problem. These cases are metastasizing all over the country.' David J. Noble, chief executive of American Equity Investment Life Insurance, the company that wrote the Aquinos' policy, said: 'I deeply differ with anyone saying we have serious problems. We have over 200,000 annuity policy holders, and the percentage of complaints we have is 0.002. We are extremely market-conduct aware.' Mr. Noble also said that annuities' guaranteed rates of return and protection of principal make them attractive to people worried about how they are going to pay their bills. The president of Diversified Concepts did not return several phone calls. WHILE prosecutors in New York and Washington investigate questionable accounting practices in the insurance industry, regulators elsewhere say they are fielding more and more complaints about aggressive sales practices by insurance companies that design annuity products and by the people who sell them. Under the guise of estate planning, regulators say, retirees are being pushed into annuities that carry commissions of up to 12 percent and that require their holders to keep them for as long as 15 years, or to pay big penalties. It is easy to see why older people find such investments attractive. Annuities produce higher income than other investments and can provide payments for life. They are often sold as a way to allay retirees' fears of outliving their assets. There are several kinds of annuities. Fixed annuities guarantee that a set amount of money will be paid regularly, regardless of how the underlying investments perform. Variable annuities, by contrast, are based on a portfolio of stocks that rise and fall, so their payments can fluctuate. With interest rates near historical lows, the first-year rates of 7 percent to 9 percent on some annuities make them alluring to people on fixed incomes. And with the stock market going sideways, people are looking for investment alternatives, giving annuity sales representatives a ready audience. But because of the fees associated with these products and the restrictions on cashing them in, they are hardly ideal for investors who may need the money quickly, or who die before the investment matures. In many cases, if the holder dies during the annuity period, the beneficiaries cannot redeem the annuity without paying a surrender charge. Companies that sell annuities say that the higher rates they pay justify the surrender charges. Most investors, they add, are happy with their purchases. But last February, Bill Lockyer, the attorney general of California, and John Garamendi, the state's insurance commissioner, filed a lawsuit against a group of companies and individuals that state officials said had tricked retirees into using their retirement investments to buy annuities. The suit said that the companies employed up to 300 sales agents and 80 telemarketers and sold annuities worth 'hundreds of millions of dollars.' The defendants in the case included American Investors Life Insurance of Kansas, a unit of the AmerUs Group in Des Moines; and Family First Advanced Estate Planning and Family First Insurance Services, both of Woodland Hills, Calif. The complaint seeks $110 million in civil penalties, consumer restitution and damages. AmerUs said that it does not comment on pending litigation; however, the company said that it was taking the accusations very seriously and that it has strong sales and compliance practices. The Family First companies could not be reached. Increasingly aggressive marketing has made annuities one of the hottest investments around. Money invested in variable annuities totaled $994 billion at the end of 2003, up from $771 billion in 1998, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Although total annuity sales fell slightly in 2003, they have almost doubled since 1997. The growing ranks of the nation's retirees are a main focus of annuity sales agents. Next week, the Senior Market Expo opens at the San Diego Convention Center. 'Now in its fifth year, Senior Market Expo is the only place you'll find the powerful strategies and ideas you need to boost your sales of life insurance, annuities, long-term care insurance and more,' its Web site says. 'This sales-centric event focuses on giving you - the senior market adviser - sales and marketing skills to earn more money selling to seniors.' Annuity sales can be highly lucrative. Commissions can reach 12 percent of the money invested, far greater than fees typically generated on stocks and other investments. Mr. Ragazzo, the deputy attorney general of California, said his office had found that some companies selling annuities sponsored trips to Hawaii and Europe for top agents. 'Some of these guys are former used-car salesmen bringing in $600,000 a year,' he said. Ads for asset-preservation seminars often use scare tactics. 'Your family's assets are in danger!' reads one; 'Trust me! You need a living trust!' goes another. As sales of annuities have grown, so have investor complaints related to them. According to the N.A.S.D., annuities were at issue in about 600 arbitration cases in 2004, more than twice the number from three years earlier. Of the seven types of securities typically involved in arbitrations, annuities were the third most common last year, behind stocks and mutual funds. Sellers of annuities are also the subjects of civil lawsuits. The American International Group, the insurance company whose accounting practices are under investigation by regulators and federal prosecutors, has been sued recently in California by elderly investors who bought annuities the company issued. The investors are also suing Estate Preservation Inc. of El Segundo, Calif., which sold the annuities. One plaintiff is Beverly Buhs, 80, of Millbrae, Calif. In 1997, Ms. Buhs, then 73, and her husband Art, then 76, attended a seminar at an American Legion hall. Like the Aquinos, the Buhs filled out a form detailing their assets; it was supplied by the seminar leader, an agent from Estate Preservation. Mr. Buhs had previously invested in mutual funds, but he and his wife had never bought an annuity. With the agent's help, the Buhs set up a living trust, which they believed would help them avoid probate costs, according to the lawsuit. Shortly after setting up the trust, according to the lawsuit, the agent came to their home and persuaded them to sell their investments and to put them into a fixed annuity issued by SunAmerica, a financial services company bought by A.I.G. in 1999. In December 2002, Mr. Buhs died of complications from an aneurysm. Only then did Ms. Buhs learn that the living trust did not protect her from probate costs and that she could not cash in the annuity without significant penalties, she said. Ms. Buhs said she had to hire an estate lawyer to restructure the trust and wound up losing $20,000 of a $90,000 death benefit. Now she is still dealing with tax problems associated with the trust. 'I tried to talk to SunAmerica, but I get so stressed out,' Ms. Buhs said. 'I don't know how to talk the jargon and don't know where to go. It's sad to think the world is like this. How many other seniors are being taken and deceived?' Ms. Buhs's lawyer, Ingrid M. Evans of Renne Sloan Holtzman & Sakai in San Francisco, said: 'The majority of annuity policies are going to seniors because those are people who have the money and are scared of the stock market and most susceptible to fear. But over a certain age it's not acceptable to sell someone a deferred annuity because they are going to pass away before it annuitizes,' or matures. Ms. Evans said Ms. Buhs had sued A.I.G. because SunAmerica 'implicitly or explicitly ratifies the sales agents' unlawful and unfair schemes.' Chris Winans, an A.I.G. spokesman, said that the company would not comment on the litigation but said that the claims in the suits were unfounded. Ms. Buhs' annuity provided good returns - almost 20 percent from 1997 to 2002, after surrender charges, he said. Mr. Winans added that A.I.G. has suitability policies and procedures that it monitors and enforces and that it requires the same of the brokers who sell its products. Estate Preservation did not return a phone call seeking comment. A.I.G. is the nation's top seller of fixed annuities through banks and the fifth-largest seller of variable annuities, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The company sold $8.8 billion in fixed annuities in 2004 and sold $8 billion of new variable annuities in 2003, the most recent figures. In the first nine months of 2004, A.I.G.'s life insurance and retirement services group, which includes its SunAmerica unit, accounted for 45 percent of the company's total revenue. Sales at the group rose 24 percent from the corresponding period a year earlier and its operating income rose 23 percent, the fastest growth registered by any of A.I.G.'s four business segments. Premiums from annuities sold domestically rose 20 percent in the first nine months of 2004. TYPICALLY, the people pushing annuities are registered only as insurance agents and not with government securities regulators who have large staffs to root out dubious practices. As a result, many fall through the regulatory cracks. Last July, the California Department of Corporations filed a 'desist and refrain order' against the Gentry Group, a Dallas company that sells annuities. The company had induced an elderly woman in Oroville, Calif., to authorize the sale of $98,470 of securities without her knowledge and to buy two American Equity annuities with the money, according to the order. The Gentry Group, the American Equity Life Insurance Company and the saleswoman who sold the annuities were not authorized to conduct business as investment advisers in California, so the desist order was issued. The Gentry Group did not return a phone call seeking comment. American Equity said that it was resisting the order in court. Mary L. Schapiro, the vice chairwoman of N.A.S.D., said that her agency had proposed new rules related to the selling of annuities to the elderly; they await approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission. 'Some of the worst advertising we've seen has been in equity-linked annuities,' she said, 'very promotional, talking about growth without any risk, all the kinds of push-button expressions that really resonate with senior citizens.' But, she said, she oversees only a small percentage of the firms and people selling these annuities. Alas, not every retiree can rely, as the Aquinos did, on a daughter to help them steer clear of an investment they might later regret.

Subject: A Most Important Article
From: Terri
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, May 15, 2005 at 09:05:12 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We must not forget this article. There is a reason Vanguard is preferred by so many investors, for the ethics are entirely different.

Subject: Re: A Most Important Article
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sun, May 15, 2005 at 11:20:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Unfortunately there are few if any governmental safeguards out there for small investors and financial rape is being visited upon many. My mother-in-law ended up having to surrender some 40% of what was invested in an inappropriate annuity and it took the hiring of attorneys to get back anything. The language in the original contract was vague and it was never explained that there would be surrender fees. The company was Fidelity.

Subject: Re: A Most Important Article
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sun, May 15, 2005 at 15:02:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
A 40% surrender charge for a fixed annuity is shocking. Talk about dangerous. This is why sharing investment experiences is so important. Remind me to avoid Fidelity, which I do in any event.

Subject: Re: A Most Important Article
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sun, May 15, 2005 at 13:10:58 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The experience is common and terribly sad. Eliot Spitzer has been all but alone as a consumer advocate against financial industry distortions. My experience with Vanguard however has been absolutely different. We can be careful, and help others we know.

Subject: Saving Culture
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, May 15, 2005 at 06:26:47 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
So then have we too developed a culture where saving is little valued? Why should this be so?

Subject: Re: Saving Culture
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sun, May 15, 2005 at 08:42:27 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Though there is much to crticize Alan Greenspan about in fiscal policy analysis and advice, I find Federal Reserve policy to have been most astute and helpful since Paul Volker became Chair. The gradual decline in interest rates since 1982 is a meausre of Fed effectiveness. However, I wonder if low interest rates deter saving. I do not think so, but I am not sure. Besides, low interest rates are to be preferred.

Subject: Growth and Debt
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, May 14, 2005 at 22:12:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The problem I would suggest is not so much or possibly at all the accumulation of debt, but the accumulation of debt faster than the economy is growing. Remember how quickly we were able to turn about not just from debt to surplus, but to the possibility we might pay off our debt in less than a decade. Good grief, is that ever gone.

Subject: Re: Growth and Debt
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sat, May 14, 2005 at 22:17:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The stability of REITs this year is considerable comfort. The Vanguard REIT Index is slightly negative, and leading the S&P.

Subject: Cellphone Taxes
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, May 14, 2005 at 19:00:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/14/technology/14cell.html?pagewanted=all&position= In Cities Facing Budget Deficits, Cellphone Becomes a Taxpayer By KEN BELSON Last year, the City Council in Baltimore faced a budget shortfall so bad that it considered laying off 186 city police officers, reducing some fire department operations and scaling back trash collection. Then it found an untapped honey pot: cellphones. Starting in August, the city began collecting $3.50 a month from each of Baltimore's 238,000 mobile phone subscribers. The extra income has helped to strengthen the city's finances and is expected to help the city fix up schools and trim the property tax. 'I can't remember the last time we've had such an easy budget year,' said Sheila Dixon, the president of the City Council. 'The bulk of our taxes come from property tax, but when you can't diversify and the federal and state taxes are drying up, you need other income.' Baltimore is not alone. The city of Springfield, Ore., for example, recently enacted a 5 percent tax on cellphones and land lines, which would help finance a new jail. Residents and utilities opposed to the tax, which is yet to take effect, have forced a referendum to be held on Tuesday. Dozens of other cities and states have already passed cellphone taxes. Many other states and municipalities, including some in Louisiana and Missouri, are debating similar measures as they compile their budgets for the next fiscal year. Officials are particularly eager to tax cellphones because the amounts individuals pay each month are small enough to go virtually unnoticed, but in aggregate can be substantial. Cellphone subscribers nationwide paid an estimated $17.8 billion in federal, state and local taxes last year. But mounting taxes have led wireless companies like Verizon Wireless and Sprint to form unlikely alliances with consumer advocates and tax reformers to fight new city fees. They argue that consumers are taxed twice in states and cities that also impose sales taxes, and that the extra burden is particularly hard on retirees and low-income subscribers and also reduces overall demand for mobile service. The cellphone taxes, when added to existing federal excise and state sales taxes, as well as fees for 911 service, mean that $8.75, or 16.7 percent, of the average monthly cellphone bill of $52.50 now goes to government agencies - about twice as much as on many other services, according to CTIA-the Wireless Association, a wireless industry trade group. While cellphone subscribers in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey pay some of the highest tax rates in the country, the states do not levy a wireless-only sales tax. The carriers say they do not oppose collecting taxes on behalf of governments, but they object to being subject to special taxes as tobacco and alcohol are. 'We have no problem with the revenue needs of the localities,' said Steven Zipperstein, general counsel for Verizon Wireless. 'But we have a big problem that a certain class of customers or services should be singled out for excessive taxation.' Cingular Wireless, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile filed a lawsuit in February in Maryland Tax Court against Baltimore and Montgomery County, which has its own wireless tax. They contend the cellphone fee is effectively a sales tax, which only the state has the right to impose. They also say that cities have no authority to collect taxes on services consumed outside their borders, noting that many of the cellphone calls made in Baltimore go outside the city limits. 'Some portion of what they are taxing is outside their boundaries, so it's defective for that reason,' said Kenneth H. Silverberg, a lawyer at Nixon Peabody, the firm representing the carriers. Others have joined the move to repeal the fee. At least one Baltimore councilman wants to exempt senior citizens from the wireless tax. Progressive Maryland, a nonprofit group that promotes 'pro-working-family legislation,' said Maryland lawmakers should raise the corporate tax and scale back taxes on consumers. 'When you have a thriving corporate sector paying less and less tax, the taxes get foisted on working and middle-class families,' said Tom Hucker, executive director of the group. The National Black Caucus of State Legislators called on state and local governments last December to roll back taxes, including flat taxes, on wireless services because they 'disproportionately burden low-income, low-volume cellular telephone subscribers.' But a Baltimore municipal spokeswoman said the city felt it was on firm ground. The telecommunication tax was 'crafted and implemented with the expectation that it would stand up to a legal challenge,' said the spokeswoman, Raquel Guillory. The tussle over the right to levy taxes on wireless services comes as phone providers and federal regulators struggle with how technology is changing the meaning of a phone call. Some lawmakers argue that to encourage the spread of new technology, new services should not be taxed as heavily as traditional ones. Others, intent on cutting and streamlining local taxes, want to limit the power of states and cities to introduce their own special fees. Yet city councils and state lawmakers with budget holes to plug argue that 'a phone call is a phone call,' regardless of how it is placed. With consumers increasingly using cellphones instead of land lines, local governments are eager to start taxing wireless services just as they have taxed traditional phone lines for years. In Baltimore, the $3.50 tax on cellphones extends to land lines as well. Businesses operating multiple phone extensions also pay 35 cents a line. Under the previous tax structure, the city charged a 12 percent tax only on land lines. By moving to a flat fee for all phones, the city expects to raise $26.1 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, double what it received under the old formula. Of that total, $8.81 million, or 34 percent, will probably come from cellphone users, money the city did not receive before. To be sure, the expanded phone tax is only one reason the city's finances have improved. Baltimore also nearly doubled its tax to record deeds and it expanded fees on utilities. The property market has also been booming in the area. The income generated by Baltimore's broader phone tax has become a model for other cash-short cities. Council members in Portland, Ore., are debating whether to include cellphones for the first time in the city's utility license fee on phones. Cities in Missouri as well as the state legislature are considering similar measures. Wireless companies point to Pennsylvania as a state with lofty taxes on cellular services. In 2003, lawmakers there extended the 5 percent gross receipts tax on land lines to include mobile phones. That tax goes on top of a 6 percent statewide sales tax. Some cities in the state, like Philadelphia, have general sales taxes, too. Cellphone subscribers also pay into a fund for an emergency response system for wireless users. And then there is the federal excise tax of 3 percent. In all, taxes make up 19.05 percent of the average monthly wireless bill in Pennsylvania, one of the highest levels in the country. Some state and local lawmakers are already thinking beyond cellphones. One idea is to create a uniform use tax that covers all forms of telecommunications: land lines, mobile phones, Internet-based phones, high-speed data lines and programming provided by cable and satellite companies. By spreading the tax to services like satellite television, which are subject to very little city or county taxes, the fees on phone services could be lowered. 'We've had a tax system based on technology as a utility for almost 60 years,' said Steven J. Rauschenberger, a state senator from Illinois and the president-elect of the National Conference of State Legislators. 'But with the convergence of technology, we need to rethink the system.'

Subject: Soft or Hard Landing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, May 14, 2005 at 18:57:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Suppose there is an imbalance in global markets that can only be resolved by an interest rate shock. Either the Federal Reserve will have to raise interest rates markedly to induce a recession and increase saving, or there will finally be a significant rise in the values of several Asian currencies with a corresponding rise in American interest rates. Well, the Fed will not induce a recession. That would be going against the Fed mandate. The Fed will raise short term interest rates quite slowly unless there is an unexpected inflation rise. This does not seem likely, so the key will be how long till central banks limit support of the dollar. Then, there may be a problem. Then, long term interest rates may rise along with falling stock prices and a weakening economy. But, that may be years from now.

Subject: housing market is key
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sat, May 14, 2005 at 21:59:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
If it wasn't for the housing market having doubled or nearly doubled in some important areas of the US in the last 5-7 years coupled with record personal debt, we probably could weather 2% or more increases in long term rates. But a hard landing is inevitable if any of a number of events take place, among them - a worsening labor market, tightening credit (caused by higher mortgage defaults, more trouble at Fannie-Mae, Freddi-Mac, etc), higher rates (either from a drop in foreign purchases of US treasuries or too steep a deterioration in the dollar, etc) and simply a bust (like the dotcom bust) in a speculative market with a large number of speculators attempting to exit all at once. It's amazing to think back to the late 90's with all the warnings from the likes of Robert Shiller, as well as Paul Krugman, and others that the market would go bust, and realize that most of us paid a no-never-mind and ended up taking a financial bath. Now Robert Shiller and many of the same folks who correctly called the last bust are telling us that the same thing will happen in the housing market. But, true to form, here we are, enmass, paying (once again) a no-never-mind. As damaging as the stock market bust was (which set off this massive liquidity pumping with the lowering of interest rates to prevent deflation), a housing market collapse would be far more damaging and would crush consumption wherever it were to take place. Take a look at Japan - they have a large trade surplus and not nearly the personal debt we have here and a housing meltdown has kept them in a very long term recession. If the US consumer begins to pack it in, you will see Japan sink much more deeply.

Subject: Re: housing market is key
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, May 14, 2005 at 22:15:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Yes; the housing market and mortgage debt are keys. There is the worry, and there the reason I do not think we can stand too much more than a 5% long term Treasury yield.

Subject: Why Should Interest Rates Be Higher?
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, May 14, 2005 at 16:53:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Steve Roach appears to wish a significant rise in interest rates from here; I assume long term rates as well as short term. I however am pleased that long term rates are so low. Are we to sacrifice the domestic economy to the abstraction of balance? Why?

Subject: Re: Why Should Interest Rates Be Higher?
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sat, May 14, 2005 at 17:00:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Though there are complaints about prices being too high for the high yield bonds, I can assure you that high yield bonds have fallen substantially in price this year, while investment grade bonds have risen in price. Why does Steve Roach always seem to opt for a recession to solve abstract economic problems?

Subject: As the tide rolls out
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, May 14, 2005 at 16:33:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Stephen Roach: 'Alas, there is an important catch to the carry trade in residential property — debt. In an income- and saving-short climate, the American consumer has monetized the proceeds of the carry trade to fund current consumption. Courtesy of a well-developed home mortgage refinancing technology, “equity extraction” from ever-rising property values has amounted to about $710 billion over the past four years, according to data from Freddie Mac on home equity cash-outs and second mortgages. That is hardly an inconsequential supplement to consumer purchasing power; in fact, this monetization of housing wealth was nearly 35% larger than the cumulative growth in earned wage income over this same four-year time frame. The problem, of course, is that this search for income — the consumer’s functional equivalent of the investor’s search for yield — has taken household sector debt loads up to a record of nearly 90% of GDP. Moreover, even at low market interest rates, the servicing costs of this gigantic debt load are in the upper decile of historical experience. Mainly for those reasons, I continue to believe that the American consumer will emerge as the weakest link in the macro chain in a normalized real interest rate climate. All this underscores the increasingly worrisome perils that lurk on the other side of the carry trade. A protracted period of abnormally low real interest rates has led to a number of distortions in US financial markets and in an asset-dependent US economy. To the extent unusual spread compression has been an outgrowth of excess liquidity rather than a by-product of powerful new fundamentals, a sharp tightening in financial conditions could arise as the Fed attempts to normalize real interest rates. That, of course, would have adverse implications for the US economy, as well for the US-centric global economy. Fearful of such an outcome, many actually believe that the US central bank will hold back on any tightening to limit the damage. If that is correct — and, unfortunately, I must confess to having some sympathy to this possibility — the Fed’s moral hazard dilemma will only deepen. Yet the longer the Fed maintains its extraordinary accommodation, the greater the distortions to asset prices and the higher the likelihood of a disruptive endgame in the markets and the real economy. As always, the real problem with excess leverage is that there is never good knowledge as to who is most vulnerable in the event of a reversal in market conditions. Painful as they are, market corrections serve the useful purpose of revealing misalignments in both asset pricing and asset allocation of the investor base. While attention has been focused in recent days on hedge funds and other institutional investors, I am more worried about the American consumer. The increased dispersion of risk among institutional investors would certainly tend to mitigate the possibility of single-name breakage as was the case back in 1998 with the demise of Long Term Capital Management. Usually, it’s the least-experienced borrower or lender that suffers the greatest damage in a market correction. In my mind, that puts the income-short, saving-short, overly indebted, asset-dependent American consumer at the top of the watch list. As always, we won’t know where the rocks are until the tide goes out.'

Subject: Re: As the tide rolls out
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, May 14, 2005 at 16:46:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.morganstanley.com/GEFdata/digests/latest-digest.html#anchor0 May 13, 2005 Low Tide Stephen Roach In a low-return world, zero real interest rates are what I have called the “candy” of the carry trade. They have fostered — and funded — artificial demand for higher-yielding assets. That’s the main reason why spreads on risky assets have plunged to extraordinary lows. But it’s not just traditional spread products and more exotic structured credit instruments that have benefited. The ever-frothy US property market, in my view, is being driven by the biggest carry trade of all. It is not a coincidence, in my view, that house-price inflation has hit a 25-year high in a climate of rock-bottom interest rates. Easy money and sharply elevated turnover of the housing stock go hand in hand — imparting an equally potent artificial demand for this asset class.

Subject: Therapies Cut Risk in Breast-Cancer
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, May 14, 2005 at 15:12:27 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/13/health/13breast.html Therapies Cut Death Risk, Breast-Cancer Study Finds By DENISE GRADY A large new study is providing good news about long-term survival for women with breast cancer. Standard chemotherapy and hormone treatment work even better than researchers had expected, the study found. For middle-aged women with an early stage of the disease, combining the treatments can halve the risk of death from breast cancer for at least 15 years. For instance, a woman under 50 with a tumor big enough to feel, but not invading her lymph nodes, would have a 25 percent risk of dying of breast cancer in the next 15 years if she had surgery but no drug therapy. Adding both chemotherapy and hormone treatment would drop her risk to 11.6 percent. Among the most important findings was that a certain type of chemotherapy, already widely used, was most likely to save lives. It included six months of the drug Adriamycin, also called doxorubicin, or a related drug, epirubicin. Though the drugs cause hair loss and nausea, and in some cases heart problems, in the long run their benefits outweighed the risks, the studies found. The greatest gains in survival came when the treatment also included five years of tamoxifen, a drug that blocks the effects of the hormone estrogen, which can feed some tumors. But tamoxifen helps only women with estrogen-sensitive tumors, about 60 percent. 'I think women should feel very encouraged by the progress that has been made,' said Dr. Sarah Darby of Oxford University, an author of a 30-page report on the work that is being published today in The Lancet, the British medical journal. 'Mortality rates are falling in the U.S. and the U.K., and are starting to fall in some other countries.' The study proves that drug therapy deserves credit for the dropping death rates, Dr. Darby said. The findings come from an analysis of 194 studies involving 145,000 women in two dozen countries - the largest analysis ever of research results in cancer, and also one of the longest, with 15 years of follow-up in many cases. The analysis was paid for by the British government, not drug companies. The women in the studies all had relatively early cancers. Some were confined to the breast and some had spread to nearby lymph nodes, but none had reached other organs. All the women had surgery, and some had radiation. Some had no drug treatment, but others had chemotherapy or hormone treatment, or both. The use of chemotherapy varied because in the 1980's, when many of the studies began, there was not enough evidence to tell whether women with early breast cancers needed drug treatment after surgery, and some doctors argued vehemently that they should not be exposed to the risks of chemotherapy. All the studies included in the analysis were the type considered most reliable, known as randomized controlled trials, meaning that women were assigned at random to one treatment or another, and their outcomes compared. An astonishing finding, Dr. Darby said, is that the benefits of treatment actually increase over time, even after the treatment is done, so that the elevation in survival rates in women who took the drugs compared with those who did not is even greater after 10 to 15 years than it was after 5 years. 'Very few doctors would have guessed that beforehand,' Dr. Darby said. For example, the study found that women under 50 who received chemotherapy (not hormone treatment) had a 15.7 percent death rate after five years, compared with 20 percent in women without chemotherapy. But after 15 years, the difference was even greater, a full 10 percentage points - a 32.4 percent death rate in treated women, compared with 42.4 percent in the controls. Older women also benefited, though not as much. But not enough women 70 or over were included in the studies to determine the drugs' value for them. The study also helps allay fears that delayed side effects from tamoxifen or chemotherapy might prove so deadly that women would in essence just be trading breast cancer for another cause of death. That did not occur; the increased risk of death linked to the drugs was only 0.2 percent. Dr. Stephen Chia of the British Columbia Cancer Agency, an author of a commentary on the study, said he expected further declines in death rates from breast cancer because newer drugs, already in widespread use, worked even better than the ones used in the studies on which today's findings were based.

Subject: Health Care Stocks
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, May 14, 2005 at 11:42:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice how well health care stocks having been holding up in this market. Health care company earnings on the whole are remarkably stable, so when the stocks sell off, as drug company stocks did last year, there is reason to look to them for long term purchase. Earnings are stable for drug companies whether in America or Europe or Japan, when the companies are taken as a whole.

Subject: Biotech Drugs Are Producing Gains
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, May 14, 2005 at 11:28:56 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/14/health/14cancer.html New Biotech Drugs Are Producing Gains Against Cancer By ANDREW POLLACK and LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN ORLANDO, Fla. - New drugs developed using the tools of biotechnology are helping prevent relapses among cancer patients and prolonging some lives, cancer specialists said Friday at the opening of the biggest annual conference devoted to treatment of the disease. Much of the attention at this year's meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology is directed at 'targeted therapies,' which take aim at the underlying molecular mechanisms that prompt tumor growth. Those drugs have been a focus at previous conferences, but the evidence for their effectiveness is mounting, and experts are predicting that many cancer patients, if not most, will eventually receive at least one such drug. 'Targeted therapy is really a clinical reality,' Dr. Roy S. Herbst of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center said at a news conference here. He called the drugs the 'smart bombs' of cancer treatment. A drug called Avastin, which works by choking off the blood supply to tumors, prolongs the lives of patients with lung cancer and also significantly delays the worsening of breast cancer, according to the results of clinical trials presented here. Another cancer drug, Herceptin, when used after surgery to remove breast tumors, cuts by about half the chance that breast cancer will recur. Although these results were announced in advance of the meeting, many of the details are being released here for the first time, providing doctors with the crucial clinical details they need to advise patients about the benefits and risks of treatment with the drugs. Of course, what oncologists at the meeting celebrate as major gains are still far from cures. Avastin, when added to chemotherapy, extended the median survival of people with advanced lung cancer by about two months. After two years, 22.1 percent of those who took Avastin were still alive, an improvement over the 16.9 percent who received only chemotherapy. While targeted therapies avoid some of side effects of more traditional chemotherapy, they can have complications of their own, and experts cautioned that doctors would have to be careful in using them. Avastin can cause fatal bleeding in the lungs. About one-third of people with nonsmall-cell lung cancer would not be eligible for the drug based on criteria used in the clinical trial. But even though the trial excluded those patients to minimize bleeding risk, eight patients who took Avastin died from complications of the treatment itself, five from bleeding in the lungs. This compared with two deaths from chemotherapy alone. Still, Dr. Alan B. Sandler of Vanderbilt University, the lead investigator, said the death rate from treatment, about 2 percent, was acceptable, given that the cancer was usually fatal. Herceptin can cause potentially fatal heart failure. In two trials, about 3 to 4 percent of women who had no history of heart disease and who received Herceptin along with traditional chemotherapy developed congestive heart failure, though doctors who conducted the studies said the problems often subsided after treatment stopped. In the trials, only 15 percent of women who received Herceptin plus chemotherapy after surgery had a relapse within four years, compared with 33 percent of those who got chemotherapy alone. But Herceptin can be used only for the 20 to 30 percent of patients with breast cancers that have a particular genetic characteristic. Both Avastin and Herceptin were developed by the biotechnology company Genentech, the corporate star of the meeting, which now attracts a large number of stock analysts and investors who pore over the 3,800 abstracts and presentations and mingle with roughly 25,000 oncologists, industry representatives and others. But other drugs from other companies are in the pipeline. Data are expected to be presented on three drugs here - two developed by Pfizer and one developed by the team of Bayer and Onyx Pharmaceuticals - that show some effectiveness against kidney cancer, which now is notoriously difficult to treat. Avastin, which is approved for treating colon cancer, works by blocking the action of vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF, a protein that spurs the formation of blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the growing tumor. Some newer but still unapproved drugs, however, seek to improve on Avastin. They are pills, while Avastin requires an intravenous infusion. And they try to block not only VEGF but another protein, platelet-derived growth factor, that also spurs the formation of blood vessels. Some also try to block other proteins that spur tumor growth, so these newer drugs might best be called multitargeted therapies.

Subject: 'Ford Has a Better Idea' ???
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, May 14, 2005 at 11:04:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/14/automobiles/14roof.html?pagewanted=all&position= Not the Top of the Safety Priorities By DANNY HAKIM DETROIT - Volvo has promoted the sturdiness of its cars' roofs since it ran advertisements in the 1970's showing seven Volvo sedans stacked up, asking, 'Are you in the market for a hardtop?' And Volvo, in introducing its first sport utility vehicle in 2002, the XC90, had a promotional video claiming the strength of the roof 'exceeds the legal requirements in the U.S.A. by more than 100 percent.' But by that time, Volvo was a subsidiary of Ford Motor, which soon told Volvo that its public emphasis on roof strength was out of step with Ford's position on the matter and had to change, according to documents that have emerged in recent court cases. In an e-mail message dated Nov. 23, 2002, Priya Prasad, a top Ford safety engineer, told a Volvo safety engineer, Ingrid Skogsmo, that it was 'absolutely necessary to close the technical differences' between the companies, adding that top Ford officials wanted to resolve the disagreement 'immediately.' The dispute between Volvo, the Swedish automaker with a reputation for promoting safety, and its new corporate parent centered on the role that crushed vehicle roofs play in the more than 10,000 deaths and 16,000 serious injuries from rollovers each year. The issue is gaining increased attention with the proliferation of rollover lawsuits. At the same time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is about to issue the first changes to roof regulations since they were created in the 1970's. Regulators have found that roofs crumpled to varying degrees in more than a quarter of rollover accidents, or more than 7,000 of them. In the last two decades, regulators have toughened rules for the front, rear ends and sides of cars but not for the roof. There is a bitter debate over the extent to which crushed roofs actually cause injuries. For decades, American automakers have argued that many injuries or deaths from rollovers occur in the moments just before the roof crushes, when an occupant of a vehicle is thrown into the roof - not when roofs collapse on people's heads. 'There is no data out there to suggest people are injured by a roof collapsing,' said Susan Cischke, Ford's vice president for environmental and safety engineering. Consumer groups vigorously disagree and say the rule on roof strength looks especially lacking given the rise of S.U.V.'s and big pickup trucks, which are more prone to rollovers than passenger cars. The largest S.U.V.'s, like the Hummers from General Motors, are not subject to existing roof regulations. 'It's malarkey,' said Joan Claybrook, a former regulator and the president of the consumer group Public Citizen. 'When you tell people that the roof crushing in on your head is not the cause of injury, it's your head hitting the roof, it's laughable.' Volvo, acquired by Ford in 1999, has a history of making roof strength a priority, going back to 1967 when it began reinforcing the roof support pillars of its 140 Series sedan, though its reputation took a blow in 1990 when it admitted it rigged the roof of one of its cars in a commercial. Still, European automakers, and particularly Volvo, have long conducted more stringent rollover tests. The Volvo XC90 was sold as 'a different S.U.V.' with innovations to prevent and mitigate rollovers, including side-curtain airbags and improved seat belts that cinch up during accidents. A major feature is a roof reinforced with high-strength boron steel. Internal Volvo documents describe the reinforced roof as a crucial component of the company's rollover protection strategy. But Ford officials were concerned that Volvo was overemphasizing the issue of roof strength. The previously unknown skirmish inside Ford's global empire surfaced in Mr. Prasad's November 2002 e-mail message. 'U.S. does not currently believe in roof crush as the major contributor to head/neck injuries in rollovers,' he wrote, 'Does Volvo have any scientific study to show otherwise?' He went on, 'This issue has dragged on very long, is very litigation-oriented in U.S. (close to 110 cases pending) and the topmost management in the company is impatient.' He said that Ford's second-highest-ranking executive at the time, Nicholas V. Scheele, wanted an immediate resolution. The message, and one written three weeks later, in which Mr. Prasad laid out five talking points for Volvo and Ford's other subsidiaries, are under court seal. Three people on the plaintiff's side of separate cases read or copied parts of the messages and provided them to The New York Times. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the court seal. Ford officials acknowledged the existence of the documents but would not confirm their contents. 'Ford and Volvo do share the same views regarding roof strength and we have not disagreed,' Ms. Cischke said. 'Where there has been some confusion is how we talk about things.' In pointing to similarities in the companies' views, Ford officials produced a 1999 Volvo study that said roof crumpling alone did not necessarily mean that injuries would occur. And in a 2001 filing with the government, Ford said that Volvo's 'revised roof structures' could have an effect when combined with the XC90's other safety systems. But in an e-mail message dated Dec. 13, 2002, that Mr. Prasad sent to senior Ford executives, he said that Ford studies showed 'no direct causal correlation between roof strength' and neck injuries when people were wearing seat belts. Mr. Prasad also raised concerns in the message about material on Volvo's Web site, suggesting it clashed with Ford's view. References to the XC90's reinforced roof are no longer on Volvo's American Web site. Ms. Cischke said Mr. Prasad's memorandum was a normal 'position paper' the company prepares on every significant safety issue. As Ford executives feared, plaintiffs' lawyers are increasingly pitting the views of the parent company and its subsidiary against each other. Warren Platt, a top outside counsel for Ford, said that 'if you put all of the auto companies on a continuum, Volvo has had more belief that stronger roofs were going to make some difference than other companies have had.' 'I don't know that there was really any data to support that, and I don't know that Volvo has any safety data that it prevented any one injury.' Ford officials said that Volvo executives would not be made available for comment. Thomas Broberg, a Volvo safety official, declined to comment. At the time the e-mail messages were written, Ford's chief executive, William Clay Ford Jr., was pulling the company founded by his great-grandfather out of a hole. Even as the company remains under intense pressure, with Standard & Poor's having recently cut Ford's debt rating to junk, Mr. Ford has pushed to develop both advanced environmental and safety technologies. Indeed, Ford is expanding a major XC90 feature, roll stability control, to its Ford brand S.U.V.'s. The technology applies brake pressure to individual wheels to help drivers regain control of their vehicles and is seen as particularly advanced compared with that of rivals. In tests for roof strength under current regulations, a flat steel plate is placed against one side of a vehicle's roof and pressed down with a force equivalent to one and a half times the vehicle's weight, up to a maximum of 5,000 pounds for passenger cars. The roof must prevent the plate from moving more than five inches. In 2002, the traffic agency said roof cave-ins of various degrees were a factor in nearly 7,000 deaths and serious injuries a year, with more than half of the cases, about 3,700, involving people wearing seat belts. 'How can we look these 3,700 people in the eye and say roof crush didn't matter?' Stephen R. Kratzke of the traffic agency said in a 2002 interview with The Wall Street Journal. He added that the agency was 'going to look very hard' at tougher regulations. But after objections from domestic automakers, the agency now says new research indicates the problem is not as great, with only 1,400 deaths and serious injuries among people wearing seat belts. The agency has said the modified roof regulation it is considering will save fewer than 50 lives a year. 'There are a lot of scenarios involving rollovers where anything short of a Nascar roll cage is not going to save the occupant,' said Rae Tyson, an agency spokesman. 'We think there will be some modest benefit from a strengthened roof, and we're attempting to expand the vehicles covered under the standard.' When the original regulation was developed, the traffic agency proposed a test where force was applied to two sides of the roof. But after G.M. found that five of six cars it tested could not pass the test, the company proposed a weaker test that the traffic agency agreed to use. 'I thought it was the lowest possible common denominator that everyone could meet, but I also thought it was a place to start,' said Ben Parr, who observed the process as an engineer in G.M.'s automotive safety group in the 1970's. He went on to become director of State Farm's automotive research group until retiring in 1997. 'There's nothing on that car that hasn't been improved since 1971 other than the roof,' added Mr. Parr, who was a paid consultant for plaintiffs in a recent rollover case. He called roof strength 'the primary safety issue left unsolved.' G.M. declined to comment on Mr. Parr's contention, but said in a statement that 'there is no meaningful relationship between roof strength and the likelihood of serious or fatal injury for either belted or unbelted drivers.' Mr. Parr argued that much of the crushing occurs on the second and third points of impact, because the roof of a rolling vehicle is substantially weakened after the first impact, in part because the windshield breaks. This can make rollovers deadly even for people wearing seat belts. 'You don't want to wear that roof down around your ears,' he said. 'That's all there is to it.'

Subject: Late Mutual Fund Trading
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, May 14, 2005 at 11:02:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/14/business/14fund.html Broker's Trial Hears Testimony on Late Trading By RIVA D. ATLAS Edward J. Stern, whose $40 million settlement of an investigation into trades he made in mutual funds raised the curtain on a sweeping investigation of the fund industry, testified yesterday that he had considered his ability to trade after hours a 'nice insurance' against market losses. Mr. Stern, 40, is a major prosecution witness in the trial of Theodore C. Sihpol III, a former broker with Bank of America who has been accused of helping Mr. Stern's hedge fund firm, Canary Capital Partners, make improper trades in mutual funds. Those trades were made after the 4 p.m. close of the market, but processed at an earlier price, a practice known as late trading. If convicted on fraud and grand larceny charges, Mr. Sihpol could be sentenced to as much as 25 years in prison. In his settlement, Mr. Stern did not acknowledge wrongdoing. In New York State Supreme Court yesterday morning, much of the questioning of Mr. Stern focused on whether he had considered his trading improper. He testified that the ability to trade after hours had given him an advantage over other investors, but he also acknowledged that he had been aware of a legal opin